I've been aware of the fascinating world of Japanese men's style magazines for a few years now.
I don't remember where I first heard about them, but if you follow any men's style blogs (or Pinterest boards), you'll often see them cited. Kinokuniya, the Japanese bookstore chain with a branch near the NYC Garment District, carries dozens of them. Otherwise, they're not easy to find Stateside, though you can find back issues of many of them on eBay.
After scanning a few when I was at the bookstore to purchase my military jackets book last week, I decided to splurge for one of my own. I walked out with three.
You may or may not know that many Japanese men are obsessed with 20th Century classic American sportswear, workwear, and Ivy League style/Mad Men-era style. I don't know how many men we're actually talking about, but clearly enough to support dozens of glossy fashion/style magazines filled with these kinds of clothes.
Most of these magazines specialize in one particular aesthetic, say, hipster fashion (as seen on the streets of Brooklyn and now, apparently, Tokyo), or Italian street style (the kind of thing often seen on the Sartorialist blog); some skew more toward business suits, others toward skateboard/youth culture. But what's similar about them is the obsession with detail, the hundreds of photos, and the broad range of body types/ages of the people in them. These are nothing like the bland American men's fashion/style magazines like GQ or Details, which have always struck me as being fearful of focusing too much on clothes (too girly/gay?), so they're stuffed with macho posturing about drinking, cars, and half-naked starlets.
I've posted photos from my small collection of magazines, Free and Easy, Clutch, and Leon Snaphere.
I can't explain how the Japanese fixation on American style (that most American men don't seem to care much about or maybe take for granted) came about, but I find it fascinating AND inspiring. I own a lot of the individual items that show up in these magazines (e.g., peacoat, mountain parka, newsboy cap, desert boots) and it's cool to see how beautifully they're styled -- and celebrated -- here.
I'd love to hear what your take is on all this, if you have one. (Do similar magazines exist for women?)
Have a great day, everybody!
More about Japanese men's style magazines here and here.
Friends, I am delighted to announce the latest version of MPB's exclusive pattern-naming game: NAME THAT PATTERN, 100% Gluten-Free. Now you can indulge in the revelry without worry of tummy upset. Bean-based, it's more digestible and more nutritious too!
Readers, tragedy struck yesterday: an explosion in the West Village knocked out RCN Cable service to the entire West Side of Manhattan. I have been without Internet for nearly 36 hours. I feel, frankly, a little desperate and Michael is worse. I'm writing this from a local coffee bar, so please excuse all food stains.
I wasn't feeling my best yesterday, but I managed to stencil on my party smile and hightail it to the Pattern Review event at Elliot Berman Textiles last night. (You may recognize the woman in teal on my right as Kyle from Vacuuming the Lawn.)
I'm a native New Yorker and self-taught home sewing fanatic! I started sewing in 2009 and today make all my own clothes using mainly vintage patterns and vintage sewing machines. Welcome to the warm and whimsical world of Male Pattern Boldness, where the conversation is sewing, style, fashion, fabric, and more!