As a guy burning the final flickering embers of his 20s, I’ve been thinking a lot about . . . well, consistency. I work in the freelance world—which has its consistent moments, but is, for the most part, the lawless West of careerdom. I travel a lot—the only consistency therein being airport headaches (not the kind of steadiness I’m seeking). And I’m obsessed with clothes—but I have a lot of Supreme, a lot of Hood By Air, a lot of skinny jeans, and so on. My closet is very young and very random and has started to feel a bit hungover after a decade of shopping such different collections. Essentially, the key components that make up my life are rather inconsistent, right down to the basics, or lack thereof, in my wardrobe.
Enter The Row’s new menswear collection, available as of this past weekend exclusively at the brand’s New York and Los Angeles stores (the launch was so quiet that the products have yet to be photographed). I took a trip uptown yesterday, and I can report that Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen’s men’s offering is full of the style staples their women’s collection has delivered for years: expertly made, luxuriously conceived coats, along with sweaters and tees in timeless shapes. You’re getting wearable but you’re also getting well versed; the Olsens just seem to know how to breathe magnetism and cool into their designs. “We’d been receiving inquiries about bringing back menswear,” Ashley said via email (The Row sold men’s briefly for Spring 2011). “We’re beginning with essentials,” added Mary-Kate. “And from there, we will grow it organically.” What that means: The Row guarantees basics, the highbrow way.
I am 6 feet 6 inches tall, and I have annoyingly long arms. They’re so annoying, in fact, that on separate occasions my upper-body proportions have been called “just weird,” “Egon Schiele–esque,” and “similar to the Upside Down monster’s fromStranger Things.”
This usually doesn’t bode well for outerwear compatibility. At The Row’s Upper East Side townhouse—which opened this year, was designed by Jacques Grange, features Keith Haring artwork, and is so impossibly chic it makes me already hate my future homes—I headed up to the third floor, which has been converted to a men’s salon. There I found a black melton wool double-breasted jacket, size 42, and asked to try it on—hesitant but game. It fit flawlessly. I suspect, though this is unconfirmed, the fit is because of slightly lower armholes, which play to the Olsens’ generally slouchy and non-restrictive cuts. “This never happens,” I said, and the saleswoman replied: “They just get it right, every time.” It’s out of my price range for now, clocking in north of $4,000, but it is a goal.
Other things that caught my attention: ultra-fine cotton T-shirts, a navy cashmere topcoat with pleating on the front, Charvet slippers, and sunglasses—dubbed “The Board Room”—made in collaboration with Oliver Peoples. They’ve got a bit of a John Lennon mod thing going, but are lent a muscular edge by beveled and grooved frames. These I placed on hold, at a more accessible $490.
Walking out onto East 71st Street, I decided that I want to invest in a few of the garments I saw upstairs. I’ll need to save a bit first—The Row is gigantically expensive—but for me, it’s worth it. Because, as proven today, the twins are nothing if not consistent.