Well-Made Basics and Good Conscience Come in the Same Bag

Now that the weather has finally broken, the most appealing time to walk in SoHo will be around 6 p.m., when beautiful people shake loose of their pesky work obligations and begin to forage for attention and the day’s last darts of sunshine. It is the moment in which purpose begins to melt into abandon, and it is a sight to behold.

But the most revealing time to walk the neighborhood is a couple of hours before then, when the streets are filled with tourists speaking Portuguese and Dutch, and also a very specific type of New York flâneur.

He wears a slim black T-shirt, jeans slightly rolled at the cuff and Nike running shoes. His hair isn’t quite washed. It is midafternoon and he has no job to attend to, or at least no job that demands his full attention. He is stopping in for a coffee at Café Select. He would slip into the background, an anonymous cog in New York’s leisure wheel, if there weren’t so damn many of him. Perhaps he shops at the Apolis store on Centre Street. Certainly he pops in to hang out every now and again, to consider whether he needs yet another black T-shirt, or to stock his closet with staples that are ethically produced, reducing his admittedly very short mental list of things worth agonizing over by one.

These antifashion men have a particular style, choosing clothes that draw zero attention to themselves but are well made and durable. The look isn’t polished, but it is studied. It is a lookless look, as if everyone in the movie “Defending Your Life” was an out-of-work graphic designer, or if the Guilty Remnant stepped it up to shoot a J. Crew campaign.

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