More so than books like Take Ivy, classic ad campaigns from Ralph Lauren, or even vintage ads from the Ivy boom I am inspired by clothes being worn by real people. I have learned a lot from watching how others interpret traditional American dress. When done very well it is almost undetectable. It is this style that I am most drawn to. It is often so restrained and unexciting that it is very seldom featured in modern advertisements, but in the real world free from the constraints of stylist and marketing it exists. One person that embodies this look is Ask Andy Trad’s poster ds23pallas.
I asked ds23pallas if I could post a few of his pics on my blog for my readers to enjoy and he asked why I liked them so much. I didn’t expect that. I told him that I was a fan of his style, because it is simple, put together well, but never looks affected. There is a very natural quality about his pictures and I always get the feeling that he couldn’t be any more comfortable in his clothes. He is never quite dressed up, but could go just about anywhere in what he is wearing. He has a look that is both neat and rumpled at the same time. I could go on about the use of subdued color, hearty fabrics, and texture, but I won’t.
I got a response from ds23pallas saying, “Heartier fabrics? That’s because it’s cool or cold most of the year where I live. I’m also not a fan of fussy fabrics that need to be coddled. I own the damned clothes not the other way around.” He went on to tell me that a few of his favorite items were hand me down Shetlands, knit, ties, and sacks that just fit. I have included a few of my favorite pictures below. Enjoy a little people watching.
I have mentioned that I enjoy sports here and there on the blog before, but I don’t think that I have been clear about just how important athletics are in my life. I almost always do something physical every single day (It is such a great stress reliever and makes for a happier healthier me.) whether that is running, cycling, free weights, racquetball, golf, tennis, etc., but a lot of the time it is simply a trip to the gym. I don’t think much about what I wear to the gym (I have a gym uniform just like I have a work uniform), but when my go to sweatshirt fell apart I decided that it was time to upgrade my gym gear.
The death of my hooded sweatshirt presented the perfect opportunity to get the Barbarian hooded rugby (Barbarian) that I had been eyeing ever since Muffy Aldrich brought the brand to my attention. I was drawn to the Barbarian hoodie, because of its heavy weight cotton, sturdy construction, and simple style. I debated on purchasing a traditional rugby instead of the hooded version, but I really do like having the hood available when working out. It makes a drizzle endurable, helps to keep you warm in-between activity, and there is something about donning a hood that makes an early morning trek to the gym tolerable.
I planned on wearing my new rugby strictly for athletic pursuits, but that is not how it turned out. I was about to leave the house a few Saturdays ago to run errands when it decided to start sprinkling. Not only did it rain, but the rain really cooled down the temperature. I threw on my Barbarian hoodie and headed out. It ended up being the perfect layer and it added a nice causal element to my rig which kept the guy at the coffee shop from asking me if I had to work like he does when I wear a Shetland on Saturday mornings.
I liked the look of my hooded rugby so much that I have worn it outside of the gym a few more times since that first rainy morning. I also like the feel and fit of the rugby so much that I am considering buying another. I got a small the first time which fits like a large small or a small medium. This was perfect as I wanted to be able to wear layers underneath it (they also offer XS). I see myself purchasing a traditional rugby in green/blue stripes in the near future similar to the one pictured above which influenced my interest in the color. This time I know full well that my rugby will function as more than just gym gear.
Bonus pic of the cutest rugby sporting dog that I have ever seen:
I have been purchasing staples such as OCBDs, chinos, and cords from Lands’ End for years, but it seems that times are changing. No longer can I turn to Lands’ End for OCBDs, or any button-down shirt for that matter that isn’t destined for weekend wear, because of their small collars (Not like the collar roll pictured above which is from Lands’ End.). Now I have to add chinos to this list of items that I cannot depend on them for. These changes didn’t happen overnight, but I have finally realized that a lot of what I loved about Lands’ End is gone and it isn’t coming back anytime soon.
The first change that caught me by surprise is when they discontinued the Lands’ End Original Oxford (See label below.). This was my go to shirt. This change happened back in 2012. At first I thought that they were just out of stock. No big deal. However, a Lands’ End employees commented on my blog confirming that the the shirts were gone and that they had no plans to bring them back. They also said that the no-iron version would remain available, but you and I both know that just won’t do.
Luckily, they still produced the Hyde Park OCBD in the must-iron variety. I purchased a few Hyde Park OCBDs (See packaged below) and was pleased with them. The material was stiffer than the material they used for the Original Oxfords and they cost about $20 more, but it was still a good value when I compared them to my other options (Brooks Brothers, J.Press, Mercer, etc.). Then things took a turn for the worse.
A couple months later I picked up a few more Hyde Park OCBDs. It was not the same shirt. The collar length was now extremely short (from 3 1/4” to 2 3/4”). So short that the wonderful collar roll that I had once been able to obtain with their shirts like the one in the top picture was no more. This impact of this change was huge. Much bigger than just discontinuing the shirt I preferred (Which I am still very upset about.). They had now officially removed themselves from the you-can-buy-OCBDS-from-these-stores list and ended up on the avoid-these-OCBDs list. You can read some of the discontent in my comments section here:Lands’ End: The Original OCBD & The Hyde Park OCBD
If you don’t follow my blog regularly you may not know that I have been searching for a pair of collegiate fit chinos. The important part to know is that I need chinos that are readily available so that I can easily repeat the alteration process. Lands’ Ends tailored fit plain front chinos fit the bill…or so I thought, but a few weeks ago they decided to discontinue these and replace them with Lighthouse Chinos. Are these the same pants with a different name? Who could know? It is this type of disregard for their customer base that liked that model that concerns me the most.
The writing has been on the wall for a few years, but what it says is now coming true. What is says, is that Lands’ End is not a company that values tradition, reliability, and consistency. They will change fit, proportions, color names, or simply discontinue a product with no notice. If they currently carry an item that you like I encourage you to stock up before it is too late. You can always make a return. At least their customer service is still excellent.
A pair of Clarks Wallabees may not be one of the first shoes that come to mind when one thinks of Trad, Ivy, or Preppy shoes. In fact, it may remind some readers of one of the most non-traditional decades in terms of dress the 1970’s. However, Wallabees have been a part of my wardrobe since the mid-90’s and there is something that I find classically casual about the shoe.
It is true that most classic casual shoes such as the penny loafer, bit loafer, tassel loafer (probably a few more loafers), and of course their brand cousin the desert boot are all pretty sleek. The Wallabee is not a sleek shoe and may have more in common with a long wing gunboat or all weather walkers with its chunky sole than its casual counterparts. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes hearty clothes such as wide wale cords, a flannel shirt, jeans, or even a thick sweater can use an equally chunky shoe to balance out the look.
If you are looking for an alternative to the boat shoe or camp moc I think that the Wallabee can make a nice addition especially in the spring/fall months. For those that are still on the fence I have included a few pics that may help to win you over and remember to always look for the real thing (Clarks Wallabee vs Clarks Padmore).
These may not be Wallabees, but they could be.
Mens Club 1981 via Heavy Tweed Jacket
I am still in pursuit of a pair of collegiate fit chinos (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3). I recently picked up a pair of vintage chinos from Newton Street Vintage with the perfect taper (or so I thought) and I set out to reproduce them. This seemed like a pretty straight forward task and I thought that it would be the answer to all of my chino problems. Spoiler alert: They were not the cure-all. However, I did learn quite a bit about tailoring and myself in the process.
I brought 4 pair of Lands’ End Tailored fit chinos (Which have suddenly disappeared from the website…discontinued?) to my tailor along with the vintage chinos that would serve as the pattern. This was mistake number one. I should have started by altering one pair of chinos and if that was successful then brought in the other pairs. However, my desire for a wardrobe full of perfectly fitting chinos and the fact that my tailor is an hour haul from my house prevented me from seeing the flaw in my plan.
A week later I picked up my chinos and once again experienced the thrill of holding what I thought to be the perfect chinos in my hands. I rushed home and tried them on. They looked great! I could not wait to wear them the next day.
I left my house with my collegiate fit chinos creased up and looking very sharp. I took a picture (Picture above). I reviewed it. I was very pleased. Unfortunately this feeling did not last long.
After a few hours of sitting at my desk the once sharp looking trousers with a sleek silhouette now looked much different. The area from my knee to my ankle had completely lost its shape and the trousers that had looked perfect on me only a few hours ago now looked way too small and ill fitting (Picture above). This is when I realized my 2nd mistake. I should have asked the seamstress to leave some extra material so that I could let the chinos out a little if the experiment did not work. I will be doing this going forward.
I don’t want to let the negative outcomes of this portion of my journey overshadow the good that came from it, as I learned quite a bit. Here are a few things that I learned:
(Know Yourself) I have muscular legs and I will have to take this into consideration when tapering trousers. I used to think that my chinos flared out below the knees because the leg opening was too small. It turns out that they did this because my calf muscle was pulling them one way and my knee/thigh the other.
(Be Patient) Don’t get all of your clothes altered at once unless you are certain that will like the result.
(Be Cautious) If you are not certain that you will like the result of your alterations ask the seamstress to leave some material so that the operation can be reversed.
I also learned a little bit more about collegiate fit chinos specifically. The percentages that I gave in my first post (Collegiate Cut Chinos Part 1) seem to hold true. In this post, I attempted to go slimmer than the numbers recommended and I learned my lesson. The leg opening on these trousers is 7.25” (Picture at top of page), but the trousers that I had tapered to 7.45” in the previous collegiate fit chinos post worked a lot better for me (Picture above). However, the skinnier thigh on the new pairs fit better.
The biggest lesson I learned from this experiment is that what I want and what looks best on me are not always going to be the same thing. My hunt for collegiate fit chinos appears to be merging with my pursuit of the perfect chinos. I now have more questions to answer such as, “Would a heavier chinos help reduce the knee bulge?” , “Would a poly/cotton (Yeah I said poly) help?”, and “Is this just the nature of chinos?”. If anyone has any thought I would love to here them.