I have been going on about “street style” and “real clothes” of late and I think that 5351 Pour Les Hommes is pretty much the embodiment of that aesthetic and approach to fashion. It is a brand that takes the fundamentals of quality and toughness that an urban environment necessitates and adds what I believe to be the most crucial thing – credibility. Because as much as you can trot around Harajuku in full-on V-Kei, you can’t go into a Family Mart without raising an eyebrow or two, you won’t be taken seriously in a department store and going into a tough drinkers bar in Kabukicho is well and truly out. I think that while street style can reflect the tastes of the street that gave us that style, the true street fashion is that which can be worn literally anywhere. That you could go whether you liked and you would be taken seriously and considered fashionable. In this way I think that brands like 5351 and its not-so-distant cousin Shellac embody the style of Tokyo – they are the cumulation of the conditioning of the streets.
With that said lets check out A/W 2010
They clearly do what they do damn well without over-designing. They take on trends and new techniques but you would never look like you were trying to be particularly cutting-edge. It is that kind of under-stated fashion that 5351 just hits straight on the head, and while I personally like to be a bit flashier a la Tornado Mart on occasion, I really do appreciate the stripped back cool and credibility of 5351. Of the items above I just love the leather trousers which are made of nice stretchy leather with a bit of extra length in the leg to keep them slightly creased. Also the bandanna on the boot is a great way of adding an asymmetric twist to an outfit (as well as fulfilling my need for yet more accessories).
Price-wise this is the higher end of the market, but it does look it. Like with Shellac this is a look relatively easy to ape with cheaper brands – they are after all following this as an example. But given that 5351 never commits to a trend too far from a root style I don’t think you will see this season date badly.
Personally as a complete look this might be just that little bit too straight-laced for me in terms of fashion. I like a twinge of surprise in my outfits, just that little something to catch you off guard. But if I was looking for a wardrobe staple I would always consult 5351.