Field Report no 4: Anatomy of a Pique Shirt

The job had gotten me on the edge. On the edge of falling off my chair. But like always, during hard times - I had improved. I had figured out how to sleep on my swopper. Swooping hand was just the unknown entity I wasn’t prepared for. It was a vulgar display of power. Swopper went wobbling. I went flying. Little birds flew in a circle and sang above my head. The shitbird was angrily snarling with his fists up. Spit splattering out between his teeth. Then the smell of fresh black coffee seduced my boss away. “Work is the driving force to greatness” he yelled, speeding off and flexing his biceps.

He left me some notes. After skimming them, one sentence caught my attention. "Anatomy of a pique shirt". Boss left me a Liverano & Liverano pique shirt atop of my Gentry stack. It was my objective of the day. On the record: a detail oriented article about a pique shirt that dwells into the depths of the engineering side of clothing and argues for its objective superiority. Off the record: what the heck.

Heat in the boulevard. I got a note from the post office. Incoming package from Japan. I figured it was from Junichi. Along the way there were shops and boutiques with secret pre-sales and exclusive VIP sales. Secret pre sales were publicly well known things and a VIP would be everyone except that one dude who didn’t bother to subscribe. 

It was a full-blown summer out there. Dive bars had spread into the sidewalks. Walking street was a fiesta. Sun fried patrons were downing margaritas. Buena Vista Social club was played loud. I probed a local dive bar and ordered orange juice. TV behind the counter had Yngwie Malmsteen interview on. The Swedish rockstar was preaching: “How can less be more? More is more!” I raised my eyebrow. The Irish bartender went full brogue: "This lad has a well formed point my son. Though I fancy his guitarwork a tad hasty. What do you think of this Andy?” Then from the shadowy corner of the bar emerged another gone by rock legend - Andy McCoy. He shakily walked to the bar and pointed the TV with his jewelry ridden finger. He went: You know, that guy is an asshole. They should play my interview. When I was in Hanoi Rocks… I left Andy to preach as I emptied my glass. Enough with preaching lunatics. I donned my Jean-Paul Gaultier sunglasses as I needed to look somewhat convincing while I was on to do the so-called serious part of my work. Time to hit a few stores and ask around.

First up was this serious piece of fashion work. Gallery like plain white storefront with raw concrete surfaces. Black garments arranged loosely on racks. A goth dude full clad in black behind the counter. He was staring at me with an extremely dissatisfied look in his face. New Order was playing in a very low volume. I sensed being scanned from head to toe. Back of his mind probably was the question of what to think of this piece of work: Along with my unkempt bearded appearance I was wearing a brim up Filson duckbill cap, vintage JPG shades, A LOUD 60’s hawaii tiki shirt, camp shorts and beat-up ranger mocs with a hiking backpack hanging on my shoulder.
The goth’s face went like he smelled crap and with the most unmotivated tone possible he went: How can I help?
Anything of pique fabric? He sighed theatrically like it was the worst day of his life as he turned his back and glided towards the racks with his sleeveless knee-length dress flowing like a cape. He picked up an asymmetrical men’s shirt with unnecessary metal zipper details and a leather applique harness cage. Then he stepped back and crossed his arms and started staring at the floor and said: It's pique. I inspected the thing, trying to comprehend it. It was all silent and awkward.
Undoubtedly interesting design.
More is more, huh? 
No answer.
Less is more?
No answer. 
I was just thinking about what makes an excellent pique shirt.
No answer.
The goth seemed like he wanted to cry, like my presence had drained his last remains of life essence away. He kept staring at the concrete abyss and didn't say a thing.
Thanks for your troubles! I was off.
First anatomy lesson over. It was not much, but it was done!

Hot weather stroll to the market street. There was a mid-range menswear chain that had those overly enthusiastic ex-phone-connection salesmen types as their staff. Their default selling style: exhaust the customer into submission. I asked for a pique. The salesdude was wearing a suit skin-tight. He started bombarding: Hello there! How are you? Nice to see you! Thank you very much! Yes! Yes! Yes of course we have pique! Here, here, here, here, here and also here! Have a look! What do you think! Nice! Suits you sir! I was staring at a stack of bright coloured piques that reminded me of those early 2000s internet pictures where privileged douche kids would wear two or more with collars popped. I was wondering about what makes an excellent pique shirt. The guy kicked in another gear and went psycho hyperactive. WE Make! Haha! Guaranteed satisfaction. If you don’t like it, return it. Buy four and get one for free! We have all the colors. - More is more, huh? Yes, absolutely! They are perfect for your nautical expedition, golf course or other manly leisure activities!
Subscribe to our mail-spam and get special VIP pre-sale information tailored just for you! 
This guy was getting me nauseous. Yeah, I’ll think about it. Maybe less is more. Adios amigo.
Second anatomy lesson over. I started to have doubts about my quest.

I needed some coffee. There was a joint across the street. I noticed this gigolo type of guy sitting laid back outside in a fancy tailored suit. He was wearing a frilled dress shirt tucked in all buttons open revealing a tanned chest with gold chains. He had a full moustache and a long greasy comb back hair and his eyes were covered with big vintage Cartier shades. He sat with his legs crossed sipping a doppio with his pinky finger pointing forward. 

Coffee please. The bartender poured me a huuuuge cup of filter coffee. More is more! The only available seat outside was the table next to this gigolo. He looked at the shop I just came from and went with a falsetto tone: That place is garbage, why even go there? I scanned the dude. His vintage ultra thin gold Lassale watch was paired with a bunch of tasteless pearl bracelets that somehow complimented his style. He was wearing alligator tassel loafers with no socks with another gold chain in his ankle. A hectic place indeed. I sipped the black. "Hectic?" he said and removed his shades and looked at me like I was an idiot. "You mean utter garbage?" he said with a smug face and giggled.
He leaned back and went on: You know, 99 % of all the garments are crap.
He sighed and continued in with a pompous tone: I only wear Kiton and Brioni.
What do you think of piques? I asked. long as it is either Brioni or Kiton it works for me. Cocky tone: I’m a man of simple taste, the best is enough for me.
He stood up and buttoned his double-breasted suit jacket, donned his vintage Cartier shades and went: See you around. I watched his skinny figure roll off carefree and disappear into the crowd. Then I remembered the package from Junichi. I chugged the coffee.

The city trek tired me. I waved off a cab. I saw a black taxi town car slowly approaching, but out of nowhere another cabbie drifted into the sidewalk. The rear wheel stopped an inch before the tip of my ranger mocs. The driver was a chill looking arab and he was poppin’ Ahmed Ben-Ali’s Subhana in MAX VOLUME all windows open. Where you want to go my brother! the cabbie asked. I was able to say “post office” before the he kicked the gas pedal. The engine roared and gravity got me flying to the backseat. The cab bounced out of the sidewalk tires screeching and jumped the queue into the red light. Other drivers went pissed. Car horn concert started. Some douche yelled something. Moron! Who said that? The cabbie didn’t give damn, he was enjoying the Libyan Funk. I noticed the pics of his children on the dashboard, three in total. I saw his pale yellow pique shirt - vintage Lacoste. It got me thinking that sometimes there are just too many F’s given. Relax and enjoy the ride my brother! I caught him smiling in the rearview mirror. Everything that happens is the will of god my brother! The traffic lights hit green. I clinched to the backseat. Cabbie kicked in a gear and the cab went flying from the traffic lights.

Subhana was still playing when we got to the post office. That was swift! I tipped the cabbie and he went thank you my brother and carelessly speeded away. I got my the package: Junichi had sent me the 19th issue of Gentry Magazine. I opened a random spread on it was an old Lacoste commercial: “The shirt of champions worn by athletes and active men throughout the world….” Not the final statement I had hoped for, but due to the nature how deadlines are, it'll have to do.

And what about that Liverano & Liverano pique? It's quite nice. I’m also pretty sure that Yngwie Malmsteen is not right nor wrong. Less is more, except when it's not.

External links

More is More!Buena Vista Social ClubNew OrderSubhanaLiverano Pique

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