April 29th, 2010

Polo Shoes

*eckō unltd.

During the Great Dillards spree of 2010 in where I was in Wichita buying up every long-sleeved Ralph Loren Polo I could find on sale, something in another area caught my eye, which almost never happens. I mean, I've purchased Polo (for my shirts) almost exclusively the past 8-years because I don't like anything else. It was a hoodie, with a collar? I almost never leave the house without wearing a collared shirt, much like our old friend photogoot and I certainly always wear one in the office, which has the potential to restrict my wardrobe on days I might want to wear a hoodie, if that were ever the case, which it isn't since they don't have collars. This was...something new.

"Make a face like a rhino," I told him.
With fascinating perplexity I crossed the aisle and approached the rack. Sure enough, a white collar (complete with button) built-in to the pullover. The inside of the hood was lined with a gorgeous maroon & navy stripe. "Gryffendor" I thought. It was soft to the touch and had a beautiful embroidered crest on the chest. I LOVE embroidery *and* crests. When I pulled it off the rack and spun it on its hanger, I knew I wanted to take it home with me:
Then I wondered if it was too gaudy. As I looked around the other offerings of this brand I'd never heard of, I thought nearly aloud, "This is not marketed to my demographic." There were a lot of designs which featured messy graffiti and *ahem* metallic appliques. Definitely NOT me. But the others...bold deviations from solid classic designs. It was these which called to me. As it was on sale (cheap, I might add), I bought it. Then this past Tuesday I ran my wife to the outlet mall in Allen. I was surprised to find their storefront here and eagerly walked in. Once again, I was met with the overwhelming urge to leave the store. Metallic appliques...graffiti...and long, long shirts. Too long. The kind you don't tuck in. Then a beacon from the back of the store - was that...could it be...rugby-styled clothing? AND IT WAS ALL ON SALE. People, I mean to tell you I got a $70 jacket for $15. I went nuts.
Obviously, there are some looks I prefer more than others, but I'm giddy over finding a clothing line which I both adore their style AND they're a fraction of the cost of Ralph Laruen. Of course long-term wearability and fabric-life studies will have to be done (one of the reasons I pay for Ralph Lauren is the shirts last me decades) but I love the inclusion of patches on the sleeves and the bold colors as a twist on classic designs.

As long as they continue with this collegiate/rugby look I'm going to look past all the hip-hop and keep an eye on *eckō unltd. Europe meets South Africa is what plays out in my mind when I see these designs, then again, I often see things others don't.