For anyone who doesn’t want to pay bourgeoise money to look proletarian, J. Crew’s Wallace & Barnes sub-line is worth checking out. The line has been around for a few years now, but has surprisingly attracted little attention from the menswear community. Not totally sure why. The pieces have more of a boutique feel than J. Crew’s mainline, are made from considerably better materials, and are supposedly inspired by the vintage pieces that Frank Muytjens and his team routinely collect for their design archive. All things that make other lines appealing, except that Wallace & Barnes doesn’t come with the same price tags.
Take these two shirts, for example. The first is made from a heavy and thick cotton canvas, and has an interweaving of brown and cream yarns that gives it a unique textured look. The side seams, yoke, and sleeves are all tripled-stitched, and the overall construction has a sturdiness that’s more reminiscent of RRL than J. Crew. The second shirt is an inky-blue, deep indigo-dyed piece, with a white pin dot pattern that has been woven into the fabric (rather than printed on). The subtle variegation in its coloring makes it feel more hand dyed and special — something more like what you’d expect from a niche Japanese label. I picked up both shirts on sale for $35 and $65, respectively. You can hardly drink at a bar in San Francisco these days with that kind of money.