Archive for September, 2012

TV Trad: George Costanza

There have been very few sitcoms that get a character that prescribes to traditional American dress right. There have been even fewer sitcoms where one of the main characters dresses this way. If anything we usually get an over the top prep a la the Office’s Andy Bernard or taking a look back Carlton Banks from the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. However, there is one character in my mind that flies under the radar which is one of the key elements of traditional American dress and that is George Costanza.

George Costanza Tartan ShirtGeorge Costanza from Seinfeld

Andy BernardAndy Bernard from The Office

Carlton BanksCarlton Banks from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

Okay, maybe all of the details aren’t there, but it is his understated approach to dress that I like. First, take into account the fact that almost all of his collars are button-down, there are the always-present chinos, and he tucks in his shirt. It is also worth noting that he is fond of the tweed jacket/paisley tie combo, has quite a few field jackets/parkas, and dons round wire frame glasses. Perhaps the most telling sign that he indulges in this subtle style and does it well is that Jerry tells him that he essentially wears the same thing everyday (Season 4, Epsiode 1: The Trip). This is a comment that I (and I would guess many of you) can very much relate. George replies to Jerry, “Seemingly. But, within that basic framework, there are a number of subtle variations, visible only to the trained observer, that reveal the many moods, the many shades, of George Costanza.” Although he may not strike you as preppy, many of his personality characteristics are in line with classic prep stereotypes. George tries his hardest to succeed while doing as little work as possible, almost marries into money (and would have had a Father in-law who had a love affair with John Cheever – Season 4, Episode 8: The Cheever Letters), and is notoriously frugal. All in all George may be sitcom TV’s most well-known trad.

George Costanza OCBD & Tie

There are a few other tradly elements to Seinfeld besides George. There is the appearance of the Ivy League style shrine that is the Andover Shop (Season 7, Episode 18: The Wig master). Here, Jerry purchases a crested Joseph Aboud blazer and the salesmen asks Elaine out on a date right in front of him (I have always wondered what the guys over at the Andover shop thought about this episode). Elaine has quite the trad pedigree herself; born and raised in Maryland, her father is a famous author (based on Richard Yates), and she was an in-house editor at Pendant Publishing and an editor at the J.Peterman catalog. I could go on and on providing examples of Seinfeld’s subtle nods to WASP culture, but I think it is fitting to simply state that this show illustrates that Mr. David and Mr. Seinfeld know a bit about life back east.

J.CREW: Fair Isle & Lambswool Sweaters

Now that I find myself monitoring websites for Fall/Winter sweater offerings on a regular basis, I thought that I would report to my readers that J.Crew has finally released theirs. What J.Crew’s collection lacks in Shetland crewneck sweaters they make up for in Fair Isle lambswool ($118-138) sweaters. They have 3 variations of Fair Isle in 6 colors. Along with the Fair Isle sweaters they offer a solid 100% lambswool sweater ($64.50) in multiple colors that feature the all important saddle shoulder. This is probably the least expensive 100% wool sweater with saddle shoulders on the market. Last but not least is a Donegal lambswool ($88) available in two colors. I think that Cloud colored Donegal looks great and the color is light enough that it should pair well with khaki chinos. I will also mention two more sweaters that both are and aren’t J.Crew.

Falkirk Fair Isle in Heathered BirchFalkirk Fair Isle in Heathered Birch ($138)

Iverness Fair Isle Sweater in Heathered MetalIverness Fair Isle in Heathered Metal ($118)

Iverness Fair Isle Sweater in Heathered SandIverness Fair Isle in Heathered Sand ($118)

Iverness Fair Isle Sweater in BlueIverness Fair Isle in Heathered Deep Twighlight ($118)

Glenco Fair Isle Sweater in Heathered SandGlencoe Fair Isle in Heathered Sand ($118)

Glenco Fair Isle Sweater in Deep NavyGlencoe Fair Isle in Heather Deep Navy ($118)Donegal Lambswool in OceanDonegal in Ocean ($88)

Donegal Lambswool Sweater in CloudDonegal in Cloud ($88)

J.Crew Lambswool Sweater in Heathered SeaportJ.Crew Lambswool Sweater in Heathered Seaport ($64.50)

Also available in 6 other colors

The J.Crew factory store which is sells their “made for outlet” clothing online also has two nice looking sweaters. There is a solid colored lambswool ($54.50 in multiple colors) and a lambswool Fair Isle. I guess what I said in the paragraph above is not quite correct as this Factory sweater is probably the least expensive 100% wool saddle shouldered sweater around. I will also add that the Factory store’s Fair Isle features a great pattern and colors that put this sweater on par with Fair Isles offered at the main store. I am not sure how much quality you will sacrifice if you opt for the “Factory” version over the J.Crew version. However, it should not be much as it looks like your savings would not be much more than $10-30 depending on the model selected, but alas the world does not always work so logically…

J.Crew Factory Fair Isle Sweater in GreyFactory Store Fair Isle in Grey ($98)J.Crew Factory Store Lambswool Sweater in Heathered PaprikaFactory Store Lambswool in Heathered Paprika ($54.50)

Also available in 4 other colors

Well, there it is a few more sweaters to look over as the weather turns cool. In my opinion, it always best to know all the options that are out there, and I am trying to help do just that. Depending on the color, cut and fabric that you are looking for there are usually a few similar sweaters at different price points and if you look for sales you are bound to get a good deal, or at least a pretty darn natty sweater.

Sales: Brooks Brothers & J.PRESS

I don’t usually announce sales on my site for a few reasons. The first reason is that I don’t write frequently enough to keep up with them. Two, most people that visit my site are already aware of them. Three, which is probably the most important is that I would be worried that the items that I have had my eyes on may disappear. However, I made my purchase last night and I am too broke to make another. So, with that being said if you are in the market for a new piece of clothing (or two) this weekend may be the perfect opportunity for you to indulge as both Brooks Brothers and J.PRESS are running really good sales.

Brooks Brothers Sheep logoBrooks Brothers is having their Friends & Families sale which happens twice a year. The event will run September 21st – 24th. You can use the code FNFBB1 online to save 25% off anything on the site. This is actually where I made my purchase last night. I set my alarm for midnight l so that I could wake up, purchase the Heathered Oatmeal Shetland that I mentioned earlier (Shetland Season Returns), and return back to bed confidently knowing that the sweater is mine. Last year I missed out on the Pebble colored Shetland and have been haunted by it since. I was not going to let that happen this year. I suggest that you use this sale to purchase anything that you think you may regret not buying.

J.Press Bull DogJ.PRESS is running a sale from September 21st – 23rd. This sale is online only and unfortunately is not site wide. To make matters worse (for me) there are no deals on Shaggy Dogs to be had (trust me, I looked). There are however some great deals in their sales section (50-70% off).  I saw some suits in the mid-$200 range and sport coats for the same (even a few sub-$200). To my disappointment there were none in my size, but I hope that you gentlemen out there have better luck as a suit or sport coat at this price is quite a steal.

Event: Jacket and Tie

YSL Foulard Tie

I finally had an event to attend that required wearing a jacket and tie. This was an occasion in itself to celebrate and even better as my outfit turned out to be a success. I was surprised that it drew any responses at all, because in my eyes it seems so simple and nondescript. However, I received many compliments and was asked jokingly, “are you running for office?” multiple times. Looking back over my outfit I learned two things; classic clothing will always be relevant and vintage items can be incorporated into an outfit without looking costume-ish. Here is the run down on my outfit.


First the blazer, being that I am still in pursuit of a new 3/2 sack blazer (hopefully there will be a post soon!) I wore a vintage poplin 3/2 sack blazer by Brooks Brothers. I purchased this blazer second hand off of a message board for about $40. Even though it shows a  little wear it was a great deal. I lucked out that event was outdoors which made a poplin blazer all the more acceptable. To be honest, I don’t think that this jacket would have drawn any unwanted attention in the dead of winter. Needless to say the jacket served me well.

Brooks Brothers Poplin Blazer Label

Blazer Buttons

The tie is a vintage Yves Saint Laurent Foulard. I chose the Foulard over the Repp stripe tie that I wanted to wear. I thought that the Foulard was a little more formal and might reduce the amount of “college boy” comments that I might receive and that I wanted to avoid. In my opinion, the tie may have been the element that really pulled my outfit together and added a touch of sophistication to my appearance.

YSL Foulard Tie

Yves Saint Laurent Tie Label

The shirt, trousers, and shoes are all current, or at least relatively current. The shirt is a white Lands’ End OCBD from a few years back when their original oxford was still of the must-iron variety. The trousers are wool flannel from J.Crew. The trousers are pretty light weight and weren’t too warm for the mid-70 temps. They came sans cuff, but my seamstress easily resolved this for me.  I had planned on wearing a pair of AE McAllister wingtips, but last minute I decided that my Weejuns looked better.

Full Outfit

The pocket square (PS) was the icing on the cake. I wore a simple white cotton pocket square in a “TV fold” which is a simple and understated fold.This fold also goes by other names such as the “Architect” or “Presidential.” The PS garnered many positive comments which more than justified the $2 spent on it (they were 8 for $15 ). If you have not wore one, I highly recommend trying it.

All in all it was a good evening. I got the chance to catch up with friends that I had not seen in quite a while and the event served as a good practice run allowing me to test out some of my wardrobe that generally remains dormant. Due to this, I will probably be a little more confident about my wardrobe in the future. The greatest take away from the whole thing, is that all the time that I waste thrifting might not be a waste after all.



Labels: The University Shops & Co-ops

During the heyday of ivy league style you would be able to find a menswear store or “university” shop in every college town. The university shop provided all the staples that young college men of the time would need such as blazers, grey flannel trousers, shetland sweaters, and loafers. Often these staples could be found in the college bookstore such as the famous Harvard Co-op. Some of these stores offered their own signature line alongside of clothes made specifically for their shop by major brands of the day and even Brooks Brothers had a quote unquote, university shop.

The majority of these establishments no longer exist while others are shells of their former selves. This post is a tribute to the once great university store and the college co-ops. Other than the fading and fond memories of the people who shopped and managed these stores the labels may be all that we have to remember them by.

Brooks Brothers University Shop

Brooks Brothers University Shop Clothing Label

Harvard Cooperative Society

Harvard Cooperative Society Tag

Haspel The Coop Label

Harvard Cooperative Society Tie Label

The Yale Co-op

Sheffield Shop Yale Co-operative

Yale Co-op tie Label

The Princeton University Store

Princeton University Store Clothing Label

Georgetown University Shop

Georgetown University Shop Clothing Label

Norman Hilton Georgetown University Shop Label

Oakloom Clothes Georgetown University Shop Label

Troy Guild Georgetown University Shop Label

Williams College Co-op

Deansgate William Co-op clothing label