And yes, my button down collar was worn disdainfully unbuttoned that day. We'll save that discussion about contrived nonchalance for a separate post on another day,
So what of the other sixty bucks? They have this cotton shawl collared cardigan available in charcoal grey, with a six button front. Recently, GQ ran an editors picks section on Canvas 1963, in which they had this to say about said sweater:
"Yes you're man enough to wear a cardigan, especially a thick, chunky shawl collar version.
Wear it with a plaid shirt and a skinny tie-no one will mistake you for Gramps."
Yikes, who writes that kind of copy? Seriously, the Lands' End people were pushing this whole GQ business as a selling point with me, but that kind of drivel just turns me off. Man enough to wear a cardigan? What the hell does that even mean? I remember when I was in high school and my Dad subscribed to GQ. Back then they had Glenn O'Brien answering questions, Alan Richman as the food critic. Richard Merkin and Tom Wolfe turned up with fair regularity in the columns. These days...save that for its own post too, I guess. But I digress.
Here's how the sweater looks on the athletic young fellow who was paid to wear it:
cotton "Drifter" crewneck from regular Lands' End for half the money. Which gets at my whole problem with all of this so-called heritage business.
The cheap crewneck sweater is actually the heritage of Lands' End. They've offered it for years, it's always been cheap, and you can still get it, and it's the same as it ever was. This sweater is not only twice as expensive, but carries an invented heritage. Similarly, they sell Chinese made duck boots for $70, when proper ones made in Maine from L.L.Bean can be had for $84. L.L.Bean is doing it's own invented heritage thing with L.L.Bean Signature, instead of just selling Maine Hunting Shoes,tote bags, camping and fishing gear, lined khakis and bow ties...you know, their actual heritage. Old brands with real heritage designing fake heritage for people who don't understand heritage or authenticity in the least is an infuriating sign of the times. but again, I digress.
I sat on this post for a month, because I didn't want to come out all piss and vinegar over a freebie. I had just about decided to keep my mouth shut on this one. And really I like Lands' End, mostly. Every Spring I stock up on tennis shirts from them, and sometimes you can score a good pair of wide wale go-to-hell cords or something. If you've got a good eye, they offer a lot of basics that blend right in with your good stuff.
What changed my mind was a hand written note I received a week after my order arrived. In the puffy writing of a "nice young girl", I was thanked most graciously for my loyalty as a customer. That stuff counts, with me anyway.
Truthfully, I can't recommend Canvas 1963, or any other fake heritage line. I'm tired of having clothes cut too narrow, a romanticized version of the past being rammed down my throat and into my ever expanding waist as some kind of "authenticity". I can recommend the real Lands' End, where the real heritage is. Pants that fit, good cheap sweaters, and friendly customer service. It's just weird to me that companies these days can be schizophrenic enough to be the real thing, as well as their own crummy knock off.
Know the difference, and choose wisely.