James Hamilton Mitchell's Vintage Jackets and Solar Armor

James Hamilton Mitchell's Vintage Jackets and Solar Armor
Photo by Barri Chase.

James Hamilton Mitchell has an interesting approach to fashion. At 6 feet 7 inches tall, he doesn't have much choice.

Mitchell has an interesting approach to many things. He's a film student at SCC; a poetry, fiction, and screenplay writer; and runs his Ignominous Films production company. You may recognize his name from the recent First Annual Ignominious Film Gala, where his short film, along with other shorts by Arizona filmmakers, was screened at MADCAP Theaters.

This verbose individual sports a dapper style and isn't afraid to shell out for a "spendy" item to pull his look together.

What are you wearing right now?
Levi's 501s, the dark blues. I love Levi's, even though they are better vintage. The new ones just aren't the same, though they are still tolerable. Also, it is still possible to find them in my size. Sometimes, I think someone should remind designers and manufacturers that thin and tall American men are existent.

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A black American Apparel T-shirt emblazoned with the crest of the house of the Palaiologos. I bought it online via Byzantium Novum, which is a newly established micro-state aimed at Byzantine cultural resurgence. I signed up right away and bought a T-shirt.

A white, Nordstrom dress shirt left unbuttoned for improved circulation efficacy, and in order to show off my history nerd T-shirt graphics. A white long sleeve shirt is a must for me during the Phoenician summer. Its collar and long photon-reflecting sleeve act as solar armor.

What is the last item of clothing you bought?
Recently, I purchased some American Apparel underwear via the Internet. I bought two kinds: boxer briefs and briefs. As far as underwear goes, I would rate [American Apparel] pretty high. Slightly spendy, but when one wears such underwear; one knows where one's money went.

What is the item of clothing you most covet at the moment?
As of now I am coveting a Valentino wool overcoat.

Garments like these are enticing due to the infrequency in which I can wear them. It is simply too hot for most of the year. Really great overcoats are spendy items, but so worth it.

Give us a childhood memory of you and clothes:
I remember the first time I got to wear a suit. I don't recall how old I was but I must have been in first or second grade. It was for my uncle's wedding. When my mom told me I was going to wear a suit I was so excited. I imagined I would get a splendid miniature tuxedo with all the grandeur of formal accouterments. I was disappointed by the slacks and little blue blazer that were presented to me.

Name five items every man should have in his closet:
Five ubiquitous piles of reasonably well-ordered sundries.

Name an item of clothing that's best when it's vintage:
A good jacket is the paragon of a man's ensemble, especially when it's obtained from a dead 32nd-degree Freemason. He owned a house on Coronado peninsula (it's since been demolished). A friend's mother managed the estate sale, and she found a decades-old Brooks Brothers black wool overcoat languishing in the closet. She gave it to her son; however, the item was a better fit on me. He graciously gave it to me. That was a decade ago and I still sport it, along with assorted Masonic regalia, when the climate allows.

Name an item of clothing you should NEVER buy used:
Most would assert that buying used underwear is less than a savory idea. I would be inclined to agree. I do know some people are really into cool vintage garments. So, I suppose if someone were going to invest in some ancient and or used underwear, it must be an extraordinary specimen.

The same could be said about buying used socks.

What is your one piece of fashion advice for Phoenix?
As in any large cosmopolitan area, Phoenix harbors a wide array of cliques that all seem to adhere to their own fashion dogma. I try to not associate with anyone group too closely in particular. Fashion advice is always given through the lens of the beholder and is therefore subjective.

My humble opinions are these: The intensity and duration of the summer must be taken into consideration. Phoenix is a great place to wear a lot of white. I think white has a simple elegance and does much to mitigate the solar bombardment. The warmth of the summer also allows wearing less. Choose your bathing suit carefully as a massive difference exists between stylish swimwear and tacky and cheap-looking attire.

Your fashion should also revel in the short sweetness of the winter. That is your opportunity to don your seldom used sweaters, jackets and scarves. Out-of-towners may balk at the use of these garments anytime here, but natives tend to get chilly easily. Scarves are sweet.

Certain clothing should be avoided at all cost. As an illustration I will use the Affliction brand. These clothes are loud, gaudy, and always in bad taste. If you are thinking about buying some clothing from Affliction, don't. If you are reading this and already own an Affliction T-shirt or pair of jeans, dispose of them properly.


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