Dan Ahwa, the fashion editor of Canvas magazine and unassumingly stylish man, shares some new-season shopping tips for men.
A secret or unexpected store that you love?
There’s a family-run store at the very top end of the Otahuhu shopping strip on Great South Rd in South Auckland that sells Hawaiian print shirts, old school backpacks and raincoats, all made onsite.
Favourite place to shop online?
British-based oki-ni.com carry a good selection of some of my favourite labels like Comme des Garcons, Jil Sander and Carven. Asos.com is also a good place to find reasonably priced shoes that aren’t available here, as well as openingceremony.us. They have a great selection of American sportswear from the likes of Gitman Brothers and Pendelton.
The piece that every man should have in his wardrobe?
A lightweight sweater. You can never have enough good knitwear. There’s some good crew-neck knitwear at Barkers, and Polo Ralph Lauren often has good trans-seasonal knits in lightweight pima cotton that’s easy to wash.
Best way to update a look with accessories?
A good watch is the perfect way to personalise what you’re wearing.
I love the watches from local label I Love Ugly; the streamlined and minimal design works well with casual and formal situations. For something special, you can’t look past the range of Swiss watches at Partridge Jewellers. A personal favourite is the Longines heritage automatic chronograph watch with leather strap. For something inexpensive, Swatch constantly update their colours and designs each season. Sunglasses are another easy way to keep things current. Karen Walker’s eyewear collection is a favourite – certain styles can be worn by men – as are the selection of vintage sunglasses from vintage-sunglasses-shop.com. For spring I’ll alternate between something classic and a pair of Oakley sunglasses with reflective lenses.
Best place for shoes?
Nike has a great selection of trainers and lunar glides that I wear to work and when I’m running. Qubic in Newmarket is a good place to buy trainers from New Balance, Converse and Adidas; you can also try Dressmart in Onehunga, where a lot of these sports brands have outlet stores where you can pick up a bargain. Vans do great classics; my latest favourite is the suede “Mesa Moc” style. For more formal shoes, Australian label Vanishing Elephant have a great range of desert boots and brogues.
Best place for tailoring?
There’s always impeccable tailored pieces at Zambesi Man, particularly blazers and coats. I also find good, affordable tailored coats and jackets from Country Road and Trenery.
Best place for denim?
I’ve tried several different denim brands over the years, but I always go back to Wrangler. The fits and denim quality are always good.
Favourite collection for spring?
Workshop Denim fits with my lifestyle. It’s unpretentious and straightforward and I don’t have to think about it. I also enjoy the menswear selection at Fabric, from Margaret Howell to Junya Watanabe. Internationally, Band of Outsiders and Acne for spring/summer 2012. Both have that right balance of formal and casual.
Key purchase for spring?
I’ve made an order for a Workshop Denim four-pocket workman jacket. It’s lightweight and just right for our temperamental weather, and I’ll probably be wearing it throughout summer. Salasai’s burgundy chinos are also a key piece for the season.
Is there something you collect in your own wardrobe?
I like collecting soft baseball caps, interesting silk ties (that I never wear) and retro short-sleeve shirts. Strangely Normal in O’Connell St has a good selection of 1950s retro-inspired printed shirts
What do you buy from designers?
Tailored pieces, leather shoes and belts, and luggage.
What do you buy from chain stores?
Sweaters, shoes and outerwear – jackets, anoraks, raincoats.
Favourite spring trend?
Relaxed tailoring such as double-breasted linen jackets and short suits.
By Dan Ahwa