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Truman Says

Brand X: NSF

The Brand
You'd expect Malibu guys getting coffee at the Trancas Market on weekend mornings to wear NSF: It's comfy, beautifully tailored, and rooted in a dusty color palette that approximates the Santa Monica Mountains due north. Alas, most of the latte-swilling crowd these days are clad in sweats and fleece pullovers, despite all the Aston Martins idling in the parking lot. Who are they kidding?

The Brains

To eggheads, NSF stands for National Science Foundation. To stylephiles, it's the initials of L.A.-based designer Nick Friedberg. The 32-year-old got his start with James Perse, a fellow purveyor of California casual gear. "I don't want to be taken too seriously," Friedberg quips. "It's simply about making great clothes."

The Goods
Friedberg is known for his luxe knits, but a tight spring collection includes cowboy plaid shirts waiting to be dusted up and twill trousers with slim cuts, for an alternative to J.Crew or Gap. "It's a bit sexier than your run-of-the-mill trouser, but not so aggressive that you look like you're wearing tights," he says.

Fisher cardigan, $250

Alexander cotton twill jacket, $275
Mickey long-sleeve woven shirt, $150
Trent taj print poplin shirt, $210
Woody waxed-cotton boardshorts, $98

The Stores

Department stores include Barneys New York, Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom. Specialty stores like Ron Herman, Blue Bee and Steven Alan also carry the line.

The Bottom Line

"It's very accessible fashion," says Lam Nguyen, men's sportswear buyer for Barneys Co-Op. "It's not trend-driven nor highly-designed or styled. Nick offers the guy a great basic item with careful attention to fabric and make."

-- Andrew Harmon

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