You ever think about phrases that mean exactly what they sound like. Stuck up! Backed Up! Dumbfounded! Well, I'd like to focus on one phrase, or word rather, in particular that relates to old versus new perspectives in menswear. Uptight!
All I can think of about menswear growing up were the rules. "You can't wear that color after Labor day", "This hem must be this much above your heel", "You must see you face in the shine of your shoes". Fast-forward to modern menswear where the rules have taken a backseat to the more progressive movement that says 'make your clothing your own'. So where before menswear was literally 'uptight', stuck so far up a dude's hind-parts that he couldn't even think of wearing anything else but grey flannel with his navy blazer, it's now more commando, in a sense, 'balls out' by allowing him the option of understanding the rules and following them to his discretion.
Thankfully, Mark McNairy's discretion is on high wattage. Known for the rabble-rousing impressions he left at labels like J. Press and Engineered Garments, Mr. McNairy has not let more commercial endeavors like his Gap collaboration last year steal away his maverick-like penchant for making the familiar seem a bit more tongue in cheek. As infectiously witty as his beautifully 'cobbled' footwear, he adds a similar verve to his ready to wear that is far from uptight.
For Spring 2014, Mr. McNairy showed a fresh collection of menswear ideas and turned them slightly on end to arrive at a color-induced, updated romp for the unhindered modern gent. What's interesting to note about McNairy from his shoes to his clothing is that their appeal can receive a collective nod from the majority suit-wearing dandy to the punky downtown entrepreneur with tailored sensibilities alike. He showed remixes of ivy league themes paired with camouflage and slight nautical references that were made fresh by pops of color and more youthful proportions that take menswear seriously, but not uncomfortably so.
Much of what he showed had a modern punkiness to them in the irreverent fabric mash-ups of plaids, ginghams and camo, the cheeky against the grain phrasing and the placement of rubber duckies on traditional hunting camos. McNairy's show is testament to what happens when shock value goes right and in the case of right, I mean wearable. Each piece had a character all their own and, while not every piece will appeal to everyone, one or more pieces could speak to any man's understanding of comfort, tailoring, expressionism and individuality. This is no time for the uptight.