It wasn’t very long ago that I was dreaming about wearing madras and boat shoes, but the slow summer days have been flying by and fall is fast approaching. Soon it will be cool enough to pull a Shetland over my OCBD and head out into the crisp autumn air. Brooks Brothers is to blame for my premature thoughts of cool weather as they introduced their fall line this week which included plenty of Shetland sweaters.
I got my first sneak peek of this fall’s sweaters over at Ivy Style last February and have been anxious ever since. Brooks Brothers delivered as promised with their fall line which includes Saddle Shouldered Shetlands ($128) in Gold, Grey, Navy, Oatmeal (this one is calling my name), Olive, Orange, and a Purple-Burgundy all in a heathered hue. Other notable sweaters include a Shetland Yoke Crewneck Sweater ($148), Shetland Tonal Fair Isle Crewneck Sweater ($128), and an interesting Lambswool Multistripe Crewneck Sweater which is very colorful. There are a few other Cardigans and a Fair Isle Sweater Vest that I found appealing as well. Head over to Brooks Brothers and take a look for yourself while fall is still a romantic idea as it will turn to cold winter truth before long.
Saddle Shouldered Shetland ($128) – Oatmeal
Shetland Yoke Crewneck Sweater ($148)
Shetland Tonal Fair Isle Crewneck Sweater ($128)
Lambswool Multistripe Crewneck Sweater ($98)
I have a few hobbies besides obsessing over oxford shirts and wool sweaters. One of these hobbies is reading. I generally read what is broadly termed “literature “(At least that is the section where I generally find my books). As I was thinking over this post I realized that what I like about reading is not that different from what I like about clothing. I know it sounds weird, but let me try to explain.
A young Tolstoy
The first book that really got me into reading was Crime and Punishment. I just remember reading it and thinking “This is classic literature? This is what people like?” I was puzzled, primarily because I enjoyed it so much. From discussions with friends and co-workers about tv and movies I had learned that what I like is not what most people find entertaining. However, this was not true when it came to classic books. It seemed that every classic that I read I liked. I will admit there were a few not so good books, but with some direction from used book store owners and other readers that I knew I soon found my way.
I began my journey with the Russians. First it was Dostoyevsky and he completely blew me away. I moved on to Tolstoy and I was even more impressed. I read Chekhov, Turgenev, Pushkin, Gorky and Gogol. I liked some more than others. I moved on from Russia to France reading Camus, Stendhal, Gide and Sartre. Later I discovered Orwell and Salinger. The more I read the more I knew that I was not alone, my thoughts were not original, there were others just like me, but brilliant. It is not only in the pages of these books that I find solace.
Cheever and Updike
It is in People, this is where I noticed the similarity between classic clothing and classic literature. Literature and classic clothing have connected me with people who I understand and who understand me. The woman at the bookstore who points me in the right direction gets me in the same way the man I met at Brooks Brothers understood me when we conversed about oxfords and ties. It is not just about people either, but ideas, ideas that have existed since the dawn of man. Classic clothing can embody these ideas providing them a physical form in the same way a great book can bring us into touch with the thoughts of our forefathers. There is a human connection, something we are all bound together by. Through literature, and yes classically styled clothing I have come to better understand this connection of timeless ideas.
You have seen them on one of your professors, a lawyer you know, and the gentlemen that you see regularly in the elevator at work. The distinct circular shape and tortoiseshell color make these glasses easily recognizable (and very trad); they are called P3 eyeglasses. P3 is an optician term that refers to the circular shape of the frames. These frames are also commonly referred to as tortoiseshell or horn rimmed glasses. Like anything trad getting the correct style is of the utmost importance, but fit ultimately reigns supreme. I have included a few varieties that may be of interest.
Moscot – Miltzen ($200)
Anglo American – 406 ($190)
Kala -903 ($200)
Francois Pinton – ($395)
Lafont – Concert0 ($300)
Warby Parker – Percey ($95)
Classic Specs – Brighton ($89)
Once you start to notice P3’s you will see them everywhere (I recently saw the new Spider-Man movie and was more interested in Uncle Ben and Dr. Curtis Connor’s frames than the plot). Sadly, looking at all of these eyeglasses leaves me yearning for the day that old age compromises my eyesight and allows me to indulge. As a matter of fact, maybe I am having a hard time reading right now. This may require a trip to the optometrist.
The Trad Tie Swap Box has made its way back to me for round 2. The swap box is a project where members of Ask Andy’s Trad forum mail around a box full of ties for participating members to take a tie or two and add a few. In my last tie box post (Ask Andy’s Trad Community: The Tie Box Swap) I talked about the interesting labels that I came across. I have included a few of the labels in this post, but I will start with the ties themselves.
The trad tie box is just that, a box of ties for trads. So that means it will be full of repp/regimental, foulard, emblematic, and paisley ties. I myself like the repp/regimental ties the most with foulard being a close second, followed by paisley. I do like the emblematic/club variety of ties, but due to my age (more appearance than actual age) I think they make it hard for me to be taken serious. It also tends to look a bit costume like which again I think has more to do with my younger appearance and because young people tend to be drawn to attention getting pieces such as these ties. I will probably continue to avoid emblematic ties in most social settings until I look a bit more mature. Here are a few images from the tie box.
More Repp/Regimental Ties
Looking at the labels is as fun as going through the ties. There are labels from companies that are revered such as Chipp and others that I have never heard of. All of the labels remind me of a time when there were independent men’s shops on Main Street America in almost every town and city. During this time many large clothing companies would make suits, shirts, and ties specifically for a shop. You can see this on a few of the labels. The days of independent men’s shops are long gone although there are handful of these men’s shops that have survived. A few of the surviving shops are O’Connell’s Clothing and The Andover Shop. However, there are many more scattered across the United States. Below are a few labels that caught my eye.
Only after editing this pic did I notice the distinct “Chipp” in the word chippmunk. A very cool Chipp label.
I posted what I took and what I left below. I left two Brooks Brothers ties that I really liked. The navy/yellow was so nice looking, but living in Ohio I would find all of the probing into “Are you a Michigan fan?” annoying, especially because I am not very interested sports. The other was a nice looking repp tie, but the Land’s End repp tie that I took I found even more appealing. The other tie that I took is a Robert Talbott repp tie made for Peabody in Memphis. I could not pass up on this tie as it has a great color/stripe combination. Round 2 of the Trad Tie Box Swap was a success. I will be sending the box on to Washington DC on Monday. I hope that the next person enjoys the tie box as much as I did.
The ties I left.
The ties I took.
Lands End on the left and Robert Talbott on the right.
I have talked about this before, but I find dressing casually to be very challenging. The type of casual dress that I am referring to is less “casual Friday” and more “weekend casual.” I generally pass on the casual Friday celebration as where I work is casual every day. However, if I wanted to participate, I get it, replace my chinos with denim, and done. Weekend casual is describes more casual events such as early morning coffee trips, grocery runs, and yes even trips to Target. One of my main problems with weekend casual is that I like to transition my work clothes to the weekend wear when they have seen better days which can leave me a little overdressed. With that being said, I do not like to purchase clothes exclusively for the casual cause, but sometimes you to give a little.
I purchased a shawl collar fleece cardigan at the Ralph Lauren Polo outlet ($29.99) for this “weekend casual.” I was actually looking for a cardigan to wear to work when I stopped to take a closer look at this sweater. I was drawn in by, well the navy color of course, but more so the shawl collar and patch pockets. I like shawl collars as they add a touch of sophistication and I don’t like cardigans without pockets. After examining the sweater I realized that it was made of fleece. I was about to pass up on it as fleece as it is a little casual for work wear and then it hit me. This would make a great piece for the weekend.
This cardigan has already shown itself to be a useful purchase. It looks great over a button-down sports shirt, but even better it can dress-up a t-shirt, and this is where I had my break through. What works about this item is the juxtaposition of style and material. The fleece material dresses down the shawl collar cardigan while the shawl collar cardigan design adds a touch of sophistication to the most casual of outfits. I am now one step closer to understanding how to be casual and still be myself.