Archive for December, 2011

Green Down Vest

brown cords | green vest unzipped

My green down vest may get worn more than any other article of outerwear in my closet. This is mostly due to its versatility. It can be easily dressed up for “business casual” or dressed down with a sweatshirt for an evening walk. It also provides an additional layer and material to experiment with color/fabric/pattern combinations (especially sweater/dress shirt combinations). I think that the green color of my vest adds a nice pop of color while remaining reserved. Down vests have been a staple in classic dress for decades, perhaps due to the love of outdoor activities or simply for the love of layering.

Although they have been around since the early 1900’s Eddie Bauer patterned the first quilted down vest in 1940. These vests were supplied to United States Army by Bauer. This could partly explain the long standing popularity of down vests. Many of today’s fashion staples are derived from either sport or war. The down vest has roots in both.

Grey sweater | Brown chinosGrey sweater | Brown chinos

Brown corduroys | Navy sweaterBrown corduroys | Navy sweater

Brown corduroys | Navy sweater | Green vest unzippedBrown corduroys | Navy sweater | Green vest unzipped (more color variation)

British khaki chinos | Blue ocbdBritish khaki chinos | Blue ocbd

British khaki chino | Navy sweater | Tartan Sports shirtBritish khaki chino | Navy sweater | Tartan Sports shirt

The vest featured was made by Quest and was purchased at a Dick’s sporting store in 2005 for around $50. It has held up well as it has received more than its fair share of wears. I have been keeping my eye open for a replacement and received a Lands End version for Christmas last year. However, it has not replaced my older vest and has only be worn a handful of times.

old green down vestOld green down vest (bad picture)

Lands' End down vestlands’ End green down vest

Above are my two vests. There are a lot small differences between the two vests. The color and quilting are both slightly different. I prefer the quilting and color (a touch brighter) of the older vest, however this does not detract from the Lands’ End vest. The biggest downside to this vest is the lack of warmth that it provides. I am unsure of the exact fill of either vest, but I do know the older one is much warmer. There are also issues with the buttons and pockets. The lands’ End version has buttons which don’t seem to hold in heat as well as zippers. Plus, buttons are simply not as convenient as zippers. The pockets are not lined with fleece like my older vest. The lined pockets actually make a big difference when you are outdoors.  At least I am learning what to look for in a replacement. The search continues.

Chesapeake LightHouse Motif Belt

The Chesapeake lighthouse motif tab and buckle belt that I ordered for my gift exchange just arrived and not a moment too soon. I had actually given up on getting it on time. However, as I was leaving my house on Saturday, there it was in my mailbox (one of the few perks of USPS delivery). I actually traded someone names just so that I could purchase this gift for the exchange. The person who is receiving it loves sailboats, sailing, lighthouses and visits the Chesapeake yearly. He also wears a very similar belt on the weekend, but with nautical flags. Needless to say, I think that he will enjoy this belt.

light house belt

Here are some detailed pics of the lighthouses

light house

The real lighthouse

Chesapeake lighthouse

chesapeake light house

The real lighthouse (this one might be wrong)

Lighthouse 2

chesapeake light house 3

The real lighthouse

Chesapeake lighthouse

chesapeake light house 4

The real lighthouse

Chesapeake lighthouse

chesapeake light house 5

The real lighthouse

Lighthouse 4

I ordered the belt from Eliza B. If you have never checked out their stuff before you definitely should. They offer a range of accessories for both men and women. They also have a huge selection of colors, patterns, and motifs for many of their products including belts, key fobs, and headbands. There items are made to order and can be made in almost any size. I am now pretty excited to go to my gift exchange. I hope that every one has a happy holiday!

Handmade Irish Fisherman’s Sweater

I got home from work on Wednesday and saw a delivery box at my front door. I thought to myself “this could be the sweater that my sister has been making for me!” I quickly checked the return address. Yes! It was indeed from my sister in Portland, Maine. I was beside myself with anticipation. I opened the box to find not only my sweater, but a work of art and the best gift that I have ever received.

In my opinion, there is no gift greater than one that has been made especially for you. I learned this after receiving mixtapes, scarves, and a pair of socks over the years . I have treasured these gifts. They mean more to me than any high end or technological gift that I have ever received. This gift will allow me to  feel a bond with my sister every time I where it and will be reminded of the love between us.Irish Fishermans Sweater outside

I have always admired my sister very much. She is very intelligent, she reads cool books, listens to cool music, has a great sense of humor and is in general is a very pleasant person. We did not always live in the same house growing up. To me it seemed that she lived in a world very different than my own. However, she has helped to show me that there is a lot of world out there and that you cannot let yourself to be confined by other people’s expectations of yourself. Instead you have to make choices that make you happy.Irhish Fishermans Sweater

In short, this is the best gift that I have ever received. I am not very knowledgeable about  knitting, but I would be more than happy to post some additional pictures or ask some questions on the behalf of reader. Just leave a comment or email me at I will review this sweater in detail as it receives some wears during the winter.

Thrifted: A Piece of Clothing History

Every now and then you get rewarded for your patience. This was exactly the case when I found this shirt at my local thrift store. I saw it, and immediately got excited. It was blue, it had a button down collar and a flap pocket. Two, it was 100% cotton and it had an interesting label. Not just one label, but three labels.Woodhouse Clothiers Hanging up

The first label caught my eye in the store, because it referenced what appeared to be a local clothing store shop in Columbus, OH. I live about an hour’s drive from Columbus and I wasn’t familiar with the store. I was definitely interested in learning about it due to the nice quality of the shirt. Of course, I purchased it.Woodhouse Lynch Clothiers

Later that night, a quick internet search provided me with some information. The store, Woodhouse Lynch Clothiers was located in Downtown Columbus and opened in 1972 by Mr. Tom lynch. From the article I found it sounded like the type of establishment that I would love. Mr. Lynch cared about preserving conservative clothing and taking very good care of his customers. It seemed that he ran not just a store, but a club of sorts.  In the article he mentions that he has dressed every Ohio governor and Columbus mayor since the opening of his store. Disappointingly, the article was about the closing of the store. The article was dated 2008 (Here is the full story).


The second label I did not research until later on. The first label referenced the store, this one seemed to reference the supplier of the fabric or the maker of the shirt. I was familiar with this as it is common, or rather was common for a brand to make a shirt for a local store.The label reads Retford imported cotton. I did not turn up much information on this label. There was a lot of information about Retford.  A town located  in Nottinghamshire in England, but I have not yet verified the connection. I did see a few other shirts with various Retford Classic or Retford imported cotton on Ebay, Etsy, and other forums. There was no specific information listed with them. Though I did see it associated with the third label in my research.Kenneth Gordon

The third label was the smallest of the three. I did not notice it until very recently. It is located on the back of the size tag. This label is for Kenneth Gordon in New Orleans. I am familiar with Kenneth Gordon. I believe that it is comparable to Gitman Bros., Brooks Brothers, and Troy shirtmakers. I read that Gitman Bros. and Kenneth Gordon were owned by the same person. However, I am not certain of this. I do know that shirts were manufactured in the U.S.A and that Kenneth Gordon seems to have a solid reputation. Kenneth Gordon shirts are still for sale today, but not all of them are still manufactured in the U.S.A. This discovery made a nice addition to the piece’s history.

This is why I thrift. Not only did I get an excellent shirt, but I now own a piece of local history. It are finds such as this that  keep me motivated to go out on Saturday mornings knowing that I will probably come home empty handed. I know that if I remain patient and persistent that I will eventually experience moments of success such as this.