Archive for October, 2012

Uprising! by Billax

This post is a reprinting of a post on a forum that is frequented by Billax. Billax is not only one of my style role models, but a friend and a man that was Trad back when it was called Ivy League. If you have not read the first post that I reprinted of his on penny loafers I suggest that you do: Loafers by Billax

Curriculum member, Trip English, posted a provocative entry on his blog, speculating that higher rise, wider leg opening trousers are on the horizon and may supplant today’s low rise, narrow leg opening pants. You can read his piece at: Wider Days Ahead.

Here’s a picture of Fred Astaire, who often wore high rise, looser fitting trousers:

Fred Astaire Jumping in Loose Fitting TrousersTrip is pretty perspicacious and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if his speculations came to pass. I have a different wish, however unlikely it is to come to pass any time soon. I long for the pant shape of the late 50s and early 60s, which can be characterized as high rise, narrow leg opening. That’s what I wore in college in the late 50s and early 60s and, based on the pictorial evidence, that’s what the Ivy League guys were wearing then, too.

Why? Well, all one has to do is look at low rise chinos paired with a high-button-stance 3 roll 2 sport jacket, especially a jacket that has open quarters. You’ll see this look all the time on AAAC. The pants top out 4 inches below the belly button and five or six inches below the middle button of the jacket. You’ll see all the belt, lots of tie, and plenty of shirt below the middle button. Not my cup of tea. I ran across a number of pictures from Yale during the boom years that show a much tighter correspondence between trouser rise and middle button of the jacket. These come from the website, The Ivy League Look. Here are a few:

Yale Berkeley College 19571957

Yale 19581958

Wakefield cls 64 in 19621962

And finally, if you can get past the location of the Gentleman’s hand and look at his trouser rise, you’ll see:

Yale 19621962

So, that’s the visual evidence. But there is numerical evidence of high rise pants in the 60s as well. I measured up some of my trousers and added in some measurements published by Levi for their slim fit jeans and their vintage Sta-Prest cords. Here’s the data:
Pants from c. 1955-1965 and 2012
All with 34″ waist and 29.25″ Cuff no break (Levi’s are hemmed no break)
Levi’s 513 slim jeans: 10″ rise |16″ Leg Opening (LO)
BB current 3/2 suit: 11″ rise |18″ LO
LE Tailored twills: 11″ rise | 16″ LO
O’Connell’s NOS: 12″ rise |15″ LO (c. 1960s)
Levis Vintage Sta-Prest Cords: 13.5″ rise |15.5: LO (c. late 1950s)

And here’s today’s J Crew look:

J.Crew Suit 1

J.Crew Suit 2

They can have the low rise/slim leg look. I’ll keep scouring the O’Connell’s NOS stock and scrounging through Press’s remnants, looking for those slim fit 12.5 inch rise beauties!

Wittenberg University 1958

It is time for the second installment of vintage pictures from Wittenberg University. The first installment featured pictures from 1964 (have a look here). This time I am traveling a little further back to 1958. This was a year that saw Elvis Presley join the Army, the formation of NASA, and “Johnny Be Good” released. It is also a time when penny loafers, sports jackets and shetlands were the norm on college campuses and after looking through hundreds of pictures it appears it was a time when 9 out of 10 young women wore pearls in their class pictures. In hindsight I should have included more casual pics of students, but there is always next time. Enjoy the pics!


Dr. Norstrog Wittenberg University 1958My Favorite Pic

Dr. Norstrog Close-upWhat a great part

Wittenberg University Faculty 1958

Dr. Ostrom Wittenber University 1958Dr. Roselius Wittenberg University 1958

Wittenberg University Alumni Secretary 1958

Wiit Faculty Members 1958


Witt Student Knit Tie 1958Nice Knit Tie

Witt Student Collar Pin 1958Collar Pin & Repp Tie

Witt Student Slicked Back hair 1958Slicked Back Hair & Skinny Repp Tie

Wittenberg University Student

Wittenberg University Student


Wittenberg Men with their Dogs

Witt Girl in Blazer with Badge

Witt Men with Crewneck Sweaters

Wittenberg University Freshman Queen Candidates

Desert Boots in the WildDesert Boots in The Wild

Witt Girl with Pennant

Trad Experiment: Shrinking Wool Sweaters

Being a size small is hard and when thrifting it can be downright heart breaking. To combat my constant disappointment I decided to purchase a wool sweater at a thrift store that was far too big for me and try to shrink it. My first instinct was to get the sweater wet and then put it in the drier monitoring it every few minutes. However, I got the sweater far too wet for this method to be effective (maybe I will try a spray bottle next time). So, taking into account that I only spent $1.75 and had other laundry to do, it went into the washing machine on hot with rest of my laundry. I refrained from putting it in the drier as it looked smaller…and it is! The sweater shrank and it fits! It did lose some color and suffered a little felting, but all in all I am counting this as a victory,

I was so happy with first sweater that I tried again. I purchased this sweater second hand for $35 making the stakes a lot higher. However, I couldn’t resist trying as the heathered pink color was too beautiful to pass on. And guess what? This sweater turned out even better! There was less felting and the color stayed a lot more true to the original. I have a feeling that I will be performing this test again and again with different variations. If you attempt this be very careful, brave, and tell me about it.

Fair Isle Sweater

Before: Pit-to-Pit – 22″ / Top of Collar to bottom – 25″ / Sleeve 22.5″

After: Pit-to-Pit – 20.5 /Top of Collar to Bottom – 24″/Sleeve 22″

Fair Isle Fabric Before Wash Before wash

Fair Isle Fabric After WashAfter wash

Fair Isle Sweater onThis is an after pic. I wish that I would have taken a before pic to illustrate the difference.

LE Heathered Pink Shetland

Before: Pit-to-Pit – 24″ / Top of Collar to the Bott0m 28.5″ /Sleeve 18″

After: Pit-to-Pit – 22 / Top of Collar to the Bott0m 25 /Sleeve 17.25″

Pink Shetland Color before ShrinkingBefore wash

Pink Shetland Color after shrinkingAfter wash

Pink Shetland before ShrinkingBefore wash

Pink Shetland After Shrinking

Fall Favorites: Corduroy

There are some definite upsides to cooler weather. One upside is that we get to break out autumn staples such as Shetland sweaters, tweed, and camel hair, but what would we pair them with if it were not for corduroy? Yes, the same fabric that I hated as a child has become one of my favorites (a lot like vegetables and Tuna). Corduroy is warm, has a rugged texture, and comes in a plethora of colors, but right now I am focused on green.

Before I go any further I thought that a brief overview of corduroy is in order. Corduroy is durable fabric that is composed of twisted fibers that are woven to lie parallel creating the “cord.” It is basically a ridged form of velvet. The “wale” refers to the width of the cord which is measured by the number of ridges per inch. The more “wales” there are the softer the corduroy. The average number of wales for trousers is around 10 and the finest cord is known as pincord.

I plan on adding a few pair of dress corduroys to my closet this fall and at least one pair will be green. I stumbled across this picture on “The Handbook Authority” last week that proved to me that I need a pair. It also made me think that I wanted a more vivid green opposed to the olive green that I would generally select. Although I associate this color of green with holiday parties I am sure that I can work into my regular rotation. If not, they will be well suited for December. So per usual I head to the internet and began my search. I have yet to pull the trigger, but you can see my potential picks below.

Green Cord Inspiration PicInspiration Pic

Holiday Emroidered CordsSpeaking of Holiday Parties & Cords (Pic from The Daily Prep)

Lands End Wide Wale Cord Trousers Fir GreenLands End Wide Wale Cord Trousers Fir Green ($79)

Lands' End18-Wale Corduroy trousers Evergreen ForestLands’ End18-Wale Corduroy trousers Evergreen Forest ($79)

Lands' End Fine Wale Corduroy Pants Safari GreenLands’ End Fine Wale Corduroy Pants Safari Green ($79)

Brooks Brothers 8 Wale Cord Forest GreenBrooks Brothers 8 Wale Cord Forest Green ($98.50)

Brooks Brothers 8 Wale Cords Kelly GreenBrooks Brothers 8 Wale Cords Kelly Green w/Embroidered Penguins (not in the running, but fun!) $(128)

L.L. Bean Dress Cords in LodenL.L. Bean Dress Cords in Loden ($64)