at home in... w| Gerald Zhang-Schmidt

Look Closer, Learn More, #GetAtHome In This World

Tag: reviews

A Veilance Dichotomy: Diale Sweater, Cargo Pants

As I said, it’s time for wrapping thoughts about clothing in some examples, and I want to start doing so immediately after I started talking about examples I feel quite at home in: pieces from the Veilance line made by Arc’teryx, otherwise better known as a company making outdoors clothing.

It was in these two pieces that I also 'went a little farther'...

It was in these two pieces that I also ‘went a little farther’

In this review, the pieces looked at are the Diale Composite Sweater (of Fall/Winter 2014) and the Cargo LT Pant (from the Spring/Summer 2014 season).

Both are still available (in many sizes, though not all – see the links with the names of the items above) at the time of writing.

The sweater is already a favorite, albeit but a recent addition (and it will shortly get a competitor).

The pants… Well, that was an interesting experience. Looking at them more closely made me notice some problems with the material (which had also been a reason why the Voronoi pants I had had went back, together with those pants’ – for me, overly – trim cut).
That led to some consideration of the similar older Spec Pants (and Stealth Shirt – I will add reviews of these older things later) and made it necessary that I also talk about the attentiveness of the warranty department.

You can hear all about that, at length…

… and as always, YouTube comments are disabled, but if you have sensible comments or questions, you are more than welcome to ask here.

Enclothed Self Presentation

Arcteryx Veilance. A Wardrobe for All Seasons

One particular “fashion” interest of mine – thinking of Clothe to Home – are pieces that are avant-garde in their materials and qualities, but not too visibly special, let alone fashionable, in their design; made to look timeless (or perhaps rather, fashionless) and, more importantly, but not visibly, to perform in a variety of conditions.

Clothing, then, to feel at home in and be at home in many a place.

On the move...After all, outdoors gear may be good for withstanding all different kinds of weather, but isn’t truly appropriate for better company (accepted as it has become in most ordinary circumstances).
Stylish clothes, on the other hand, all too often don’t exactly protect and can be quite a nuisance.

For being able to get by with just a few pieces, with getting by meaning both being well-dressed in terms of looks and being well-dressed in terms of functionality, then, it takes a peculiar class of products.

Peculiar, as pieces like those from Arc’teryx Veilance sure are.

What most people see, if they ever become aware of the existence of clothing lines like these, are very high prices for products described in very unusual ways (and in the case of Veilance, from a brand better known for its outdoors roots). These kinds of clothes, often termed urban techwear, certainly do play with both a luxury/special-class appeal and a desire to feel ensconced in a shell with a nearly special forces-appeal, but not quite that look.

It manages to remind one of the reason sometimes given for why a woman would wear sexy underwear when no one can see it – to make herself feel sexier and stronger and more self-assured – but in a male-oriented fashion that is somewhat  “gear-queer” – in the way in which William Gibson had one of his protagonists in “Zero History” explain it:

“It’s an obsession with the idea not just of the right stuff, but of the special stuff. Equipment fetishism. The costume and semiotics of achingly elite police and military units. Intense desire to possess same, of course, and in turn to be associated with that world. With its competence, its cocksure exclusivity.”

(Maybe I should mention here that Gibson – @greatdismal, whose latest novel, The Peripheral, is out, by the way – certainly knows a thing or two about that himself; he has been seen in Veilance pieces before, and they sure fit his cyberpunk worlds, too…)

Enclothed Self Presentation

Enclothed Self Presentation

That all can sound odd, perhaps even negative.

If you couldn’t care less about your clothes, just want to be dressed and not have spent a lot, you can certainly get by differently, travel with just what you have on you and then get some cheap T-shirts and pants after you have arrived.

Clothing can also be about wearing things that protect, physically in functioning well as protection against the elements and comfortable temperature regulation, and psychologically in providing its wearer with a decent, well-groomed look and an expression of individual style, though.

I’m no clotheshorse, but not a guy to run around with sagging pants and shirts hanging out of them, either. So, at home same as at home on the road, I want to travel with just a few select pieces that will work – but I want to have the clothes that I consider mine, not run through throwaway things.

Two to three different kinds of pants, two kinds of shirts, one or two pullovers, one blazer and one jacket.
Around 10 pieces and I’m set for half a year, going from a hot summer to a cold winter, the way I want to look.

Yes, it is not cheap, but there are more expensive brands in urban tech, let alone in luxury menswear (and in Europe, in many other regards). The quality, functionality and durability – and un-fashionableness/timelessness – of the Veilance pieces is of the highest, the customer service stands by their assurances if something still happens to fail (as you’ll hear in my video reviews, that does happen), and so it makes for a way of clothing that I, for one, certainly feel at home in, and feel that it makes me more at home in the world, outside and in ‘fashion’ terms, with no need to constantly get new clothes, and no need to spend a lot of time thinking of just what to wear for the conditions and the occasion.

Route display on Ambit2

Suunto Ambit2 Review – Lessons in Tech-Psychology…

As much as I write about various ways of getting and making oneself (more) at home in this world, it is definitely my Suunto reviews and similar posts that are garnering the most attention.

New additions to what has now become the Ambit family have just recently been released, so it’s definitely time for new reviews… and after the nice 100k on the Alpannonia, some 25-30 km training runs, bike-run-bike combos, and even a few swimming sessions (which aren’t normally my thing, but since there are new swimming functions…), I feel quite ready for them.

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Run in the Cold

Running with All Seasons – CW-X Stuff and The Other Side of Adaptation

In my last post, I used the simplistic metric of the number of things as a measure of minimalism. It is a common misconception, though I’d say that it’s not totally wrong: a minimalism of a thousand pairs of shoes doesn’t sound quite right.

And those 7 pairs of CW-X running tights of mine?

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things (clothes) for running

Long Running… CW-X Stuff, Adaptation, and Value

Being at home somewhere typically implies that you have at least some things that are familiar, that you can call yours, around you – but also, that those same things become so mundane, they aren’t really noticed much anymore.

It’s just a fact of life, and part of the “faulty connections” we make about happiness, that we get used to new things quickly, adapt and never notice what we have, thinking it’s just normal.

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Comparison of data in Movescount - Quest vs. t6c/d

Running Measures

Moving, as the body you are, in the surroundings you are in, is one of the simplest things, and yet one of the most effective and manifold ways of really coming to live in this world.

Depending on where you focus your attention, you learn more about yourself and your abilities – physical, mental, and in the fascinating interplay between the two – or about the place you make your(self at) home, its geography and cycles of time. It is equally as beneficial for just getting into flow and forgetting, as it is for thinking about so many of the issues we face. Among those, the proper balance between observation and documentation, and simple experience.

Recently, the “Quantified Self”-movement of people who track certain parameters of their life has been gaining a lot of attention, e.g. in the Financial Times “Attack of the Body Hackers.”

Given new tools/toys and ubiquitous computing, it has become easier to track a lot more – to the point where taking photos of what you eat can reasonably well document what amount of calories you ingested (read here, for example). It’s not completely new, though.

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Traveling Possessions, and Thunderbolt(-Jean)s

I write quite a bit – and there’s more to come – about stuff and how to avoid/sort it. After all, our desire for happiness and how consumerism has hijacked it and channeled it into the desire to get the latest and greatest is one of the big problems we face when it comes to how to live multiply good, truly better lives.

For me, avoiding consumerism means that, when I don’t just try to avoid the temptation (and in part, in order to do so), I go looking for things that are of the greatest value.

Good things…

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