Discover more from Blackbird Spyplane
The best shorts that aren't Patagonia Baggies, & more Mach 3 intel
U asked for custom recon — “PERSONAL SPYPLANE” delivers
Today we’re launching the 1st installment of PERSONAL SPYPLANE, a new series where u send us “unbeatable recon” requests & we drop a Mach 3+ fusillade of CUSTOM KNOWLEDGE DARTS into yr damn inbox.
Last week we put out a 24-hour call on IG for questions & soon learned that many of u are consumed by profound & pressing jawn-related concerns. We also learned that only like 2 of u say “thank you” — MAYBE SHOW SOME GRATITUDE TO THE ANGELS IN YR LIFE ?! Here’s the 1st batch of questions we chose…
1. “Best shorts that aren’t Baggies???”
3 different readers — @rexmcgroder, @philmosher & @vicente.amos — asked a version of this question, illustrating the raging appetite out there for an alternative to Patagonia’s iconic nylon shorts, which are obvs cool but also undeniably “on the radar”…
Baggies come in great colors & r versatile to the degree that ppl have fully embraced them as a context-transcending outfit staple — personally speaking, though, if u find me wearing mesh-lined shorts, chances are good I’ll be A) within 30.48 meters of a body of water doing summer activities like rescuing drowning bees from pools and B) rocking the Acne “Perry” shorts pictured above. I picked these up in Stockholm a couple Junes ago at Acne’s Archive Shop (a.k.a. Discounted Old-S**t Boutique): they’re a slightly upmarket version of Baggies, with a nicer-feeling nylon & a little rubber 😐-face patch on the left thigh instead of the Fitz Roy logo. Acne doesn’t seem to make them anymore, but u can find used & new pairs on eBay & Grailed, in both solid & print versions…
For a less Scandinavian, more crunchy option, check in with NYC’s Battenwear, one of our favorite Nouveau-GORP brands, Japanese-designed and USA-made. Their “Active Lazy Shorts” are in the same form-and-function ballpark as Baggies — they come in a few versions, including solid colors & these dope batik-print-looking ones linked here …
Or you could do what I did & cop Battenwear’s “Local Shorts,” which like Baggies have an appealing “retro mountain-stream sunbathing dirtbag” energy (and, crucially, a short inseam) BUT have more shape & structure and a touch less loucheness than the Baggies. They’re cut from corduroy but it’s fine-waled and light: I’ve worn these in triple-digit desert swelters & never overheated … they’re at the Battenwear site and on sale right now at Totem, too.
And to cultivate a slightly more jocular summer aura, u could flash some upper-thigh with the Big Dogs — we’d suggest searching for a vibey vintage pair like the surfboard joints below left, or copping the “Big Dog Attitude Volley” shorts, below right, which have a 5.5” inseam and are on sale for $25 at the Big Dogs site right now…
2. “Most-unknown amazing cloth-mask companies??” — @troshcanhog
3. “Best under the radar stores in the bay area” — @Jxcksxnm
We r gonna go 2-birds-1-stone on these questions and give a shout-out to our friend Laureano “Larry” Faedi, who owns the amazing, off-the-beaten path S.F. shop Paloma in Hayes Valley— Larry has a great eye & sources tons of weird, rare, dope s**t from around the world… He also makes face-masks, as seen above left, from beautiful vintage deadstock fabrics. Check out Paloma’s stuff, and place orders, through Larry’s Instagram page.
4. “In a time where we never leave our homes how do we get our fits off?” — @easybreezybeautiful_jp
We spied the two above A+ jawns last month, during protests against the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and other unarmed Black Americans. We’ve said a version of this before but: Go outside & (safely) protest some heinous bullshit in yr community, like, say, racist policing; housing evictions at a time when rent should be canceled; tent-encampment-clearings which are evil in any circumstance but especially during a pandemic; or exploitative labor practices. In other words: stand with yr brothers & sisters on picket lines and in marches, and — if this gives u an extra push out the door — take it as an oppty to rock some jawns even if no one there gives a f**k what yr wearing!
5. “Trying to find more surreal-looking shirts, like Online Ceramics stuff” — @tuckerrbryant
Online Ceramics are graphic-tee hegemons for good reason — their designs are consistently funny, surprising and/or beautiful. Some other brands operating in a similarly trippy / font-jumbling register are UDLI Editions (the 3 tees above), Find Sleep, and Extra Vitamins (the 3 tees below):
Like Online Ceramics, many / most of these tees sell out fast in limited-run “drops,” so yr best bet is to follow them on Instagram and pounce when they post a new joint u like. (In the meantime, the UDLI tee above center is on Grailed right now — here.)
6. “Hathenbruck Chillbie intel was vital. Got any other low-key footwear in the same vein?” — @benserleth
OK, let’s get SUBLIMELY HIDEOUS, baby!
Pictured above is my prized pair of Japanese-market KEEN Uneeks, featuring a removable neoprene insert, which I bought at Isetan Shinjuku last spring… If u f**k with the Chillbies we highlighted a few weeks back, whose appearance we likened to “sawed-off Blundstones,” then u r clearly not scared of an unconventional silhouette — so why not go full demented organic-produce grandpa / swaggy biomorphic hallucination and cop yr own pair of bizarre KEEN sandals?
We posted the 2 models above to IG this week & received a range of passionate replies, from “if i didn’t have too many weirdos I’d be all over this like white on rice” (@jacobwgallagher) to “I was eyeing some but so much toe cleavage!” (@doctortaco) to “Rejected costume test from ALIENS, basically” (@samschube) to “NGL these kinda hard” (@thatboykott) — all of these ppl are 100% correct.