More Ivy & Trad Illustrations

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I have a penchant for Japanese illustrations of the trad and Ivy League variety. I recently added two new books to my collection and I thought that I would share a few illustrations from each.

As you can see below the styles differ dramatically between the two books. The first set of 5 illustrations are from the Illustrated Book of Ivy. Most trad and ivy fans are well aware of these illustrations as they are no stranger to the menswear blog and style circuit. These illustrations are pure fun. I have probably selected the most conservative illustrations that the book has to offer. It also features cool illustrations of patterns, shoes, ties, and of course a handful of outfits that will send traditionalists into a frenzy.

The second set of illustrations are from the Official American Trad Handbook. This book was a bit of a miss pick. Primarily because the text to illustration ration is 99 to 1 (and I am only fluent in Japanese Illustrations, not text). It also features a few illustration from the first book. Despite these two drawbacks I was pleasantly surprised with the art. I can easily imagine these illustrations being part of a comic strip.

I am very happy with my purchases. These books are great to use as coffee table books, but not so great for  scholarly research. I don’t look to these illustrations for “the rules” or to better understand trad as a whole. I simply enjoy them for what they are which is exactly what I hope that you do, too.

Ivy Illustration 1Ivy Illustration 2Ivy Illustration 3Ivy Illustration 5Ivy Illustration 4
Trad  Illustration 1Trad Illustration 2
Trad Illustration 3Trad Image 4Trad Illustration 5

The Bow Tie Find: Vintage Patterns & Labels

Featured Bow Tie Haul

While out running errands a few weeks ago I decided to pop into one of my favorite thrift stores. It is a little shop and while I have seen a lot of nice suits and sport coats there I have never found anything for myself. I went in the zero expectations, but I left with 12 bow ties for $3. Needless to say, it was a good trip.

Finding ties at thrift stores is easy. Finding ties that I like at thrift stores is a little more challenging. Finding bow ties at thrift stores has proved itself extremely difficult.  So when I found the first bow tie I was surprised. When I found 12 more that I Liked (and about 6 that I loved) I was ecstatic. I have included a few pictures of the bow ties below.

The Patterns

Green Wool Bow tieFerrell Reed Pheasant Bow TieYellow Paisley Huntington Bow TiePaul Stuart Bow TieVintage Madras Bow tieGreen Vintage Bow TieBatik Bow tieThe patterns are great, but there are some very cool labels as well. I found the Magnolia Cottage label first and loved its simplicity. I noticed the Welch, Margetson label in the store and immediately remembered that Richard Press mentioned the brand in a post (Here is that post: The Black Sheep). I didn’t discover the Made in England Rike-Kumler Co. in Dayton until I got home, but because it is local it is my favorite.

The Labels

MAGNOLIA COTTAGE Bow Tie LabelThe RIKE-KUNLER CO. Dayton Bow TieWelch, Margetson 8 Bow TiePaul Stuart Label on Bow Tie

An interesting fact that is relevant to this post is that I don’t actually wear bow ties. Well, I have worn a bow tie 3 times in my life, but I am still not comfortable in one, at least not in an office setting. However, I have learned that I do not know what the future holds. I may decide to wear bow ties in the future and that time I will appreciate the $3 investment.

Shawl Collar Sweater with a Tie

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I have been wearing a tie and jacket to work twice a week for over two years. When I began I was asked all the usual questions about meetings, job interviews, yada yada yada (Inspired by my trad-ish friend George Costanza). Those days are now in the distant past and my tie wearing ways now go unnoticed. During the course of the last two years I have tried quite a few different combinations and I have found that wearing a tie with a shawl collar sweater may be the easiest way to wear a tie in a business casual office.

What do I mean by easy? What I mean is that it will not elicit as many unwanted comments about why you are wearing a tie (at least it did not in my experience). Perhaps this is because a sweater is much more informal than a blazer or sport coat, but also because the tie is mostly covered with a sweater so that it does not garner the same amount of attention that it would when worn with a jacket. Instead only a glimpse of the tie is given which is the perfect opportunity to wear an interesting emblematic ties such these: Ivy League Humor.
Shawl Collar Sweater with a tie and corduroysDuck Tie and CordsNot only does it make wearing a tie easy, but it looks good too. In general, I am not a fan of the sweater and tie look. I don’t like it with a crewneck, because there is rarely any tie exposure and the knot usually makes the neck lay funny. A V-neck Shetland can look okay, but the shawl collar’s strength is that it provides a background for the tie that is similar to the lapel of a jacket.
Shawl Collar Sweater and Tie with grey wool pantsBrooksgate neat tieIn preparation for this post I wore this look twice last week.  The first time I wore it with cords and a wool-silk emblematic tie with ducks. I was very comfortable in this look. In my second example I went for look that is more city. This time, I wore grey wool pants and an old silk Brooksgate neat tie. Overall I found the sweater to be versatile.

The shawl collar is a good option for when you want to wear a tie in a business-casual setting such as an office or a nicer restaurant, but not a jacket. So, If you were contemplating wearing a shawl collar sweater and a tie I say go for it. If you want to wear a tie to your office, but are put off by the fuss it will receive try sneaking one in under a shawl collar sweater. If you want some cover for your Chipp FU tie it could be for you as well!

From Inspiration to Reality

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As the summer came to a close last year I saw this picture of Prince Charles shown below. I thought that it was pretty fantastic. It had everything that I like in a cool weather rig including a tweed sport coat, tan corduroys and a boldly-colored striped tie. I was inspired. I used this inspiration to put together a few of my own fall/winter looks which I have shared below.

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Inspired by the above
Inspiration #1Inspiration 2

As you can see from the above, my rigs were not exact copies of the picture at all. For example, in the first picture I wore a navy blazer in place of the tweed, but kept the same color cords and a similar tie. In picture #2, I mimicked the jacket and trouser colors, but swapped out the tie. I opted for the OCBD in both situations to make it my own.

I took what I saw in the picture and subtracted that from what I already had in my closet then divided that by where I was going. While that is not the exact formula that I used it does give you an idea of how I turn inspiration into reality.

Just for Fun

Inspiration 3(Based on last week’s post I thought that I would add this picture of my 3/2 roll jacket buttoned as a true 3 button jacket that I took for fun.)

I read quite a bit about clothes, but the resource that has been the most helpful to me in terms of putting together an outfit is people watching. This is why I try to share my own images as well as the images of other “real people” on the blog.  My last piece of advice is to take note of combinations that you see in everyday life, magazines, and the internet that appeal to you and to replicate them. There is no reason to reinvent the wheel.

The Real Shaggy Dog

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This week I tackle the authenticity of another Trad classic; the Shaggy Dog. Now we may have come to know the Shaggy Dog as a brushed Shetland sweater from J.Press, but these pictures I found online make me question the origin of the Shaggy Dog. Perhaps the name Shaggy Dog has nothing to do with the resemblance of the brushed wool to a shaggy dog’s coat at all, but instead is named after a stylish Trad dog like the dogs that J.Press caters to in Japan? J.Press Real Shaggy Dog J.Press Shaggy Puffy CoatIf you haven’t guessed by now I am only joking. After last week’s post I thought that it would be a good reminder for us all to remember that while there is nothing wrong with wanting to learn and understand the history of clothes it should be something that brings joy and not causes that causes duress. J.Press Shaggy Dog ClothesJ.Press Frisbee Obviously the scenario that I proposed in the opening paragraph was made up, but the images and products in this post are not a joke. It seems that Hannari the company that produces the J.Press line for dogs in Japan  has launched a US site. I will admit that many of these items seem fairly ridiculous to me, but I will also add that I  am not a dog owner either. If I were a dog owner (or a college kid)  I would definitely pick up the frisbee. You can checkout the complete Hannari J.Press Collection for Dogs here: http://hannari.us/collections/j-press