It is time for another edition of the United States of Trad. This trad politician hails from the Kennedy crew and although he is not a Kennedy himself he is very near and dear to the family. That man is special counsel Ted Sorensen (1928-2010). Sorensen is not only a renowned speech writer for one of the history’s most famous orators JFK, but he was also a political strategist and the no-man that every good president needs. More importantly to this blog Ted Sorensen embodies the Ivy League look. He had the haircut, the glasses and the suits. He was cool.
Archive for May, 2013
I am not by any means saying that Brooks Brothers is the originator of any of these stripe patterns, but they have developed the most referenced classification. That classification is the Brooks Brothers (BB) stripe.
BB #1 Stripe in action
The BB #1-5 stripe neckties have become staples in the wardrobe of the classically dressed. Many gentlemen if asked what necktie they would choose if they could only wear one tie everyday would default to one of these ties and there is great reason for that. A necktie in classically colored stripes like most other traditional clothing items will never be in or out of fashion, but will always look correct. I thought that we could all stand to revisit these stripes.
BB #1 Stripe
*BB #2 Stripe
*It was not until I started writing this post that I realized the BB #2 stripe is not available in the same set of simple colors as the others.
As the colors of spring and summer start to pop up around us so will colorful madras clothing. However, madras does not have to be overwhelmingly bight. In fact, it can be found in a lot of subdued color schemes such as earth tones. Some madras items cannot be restrained no matter what the color. One of these items is the madras sport coat.
The madras sport coat is for those who are confident in their style. It is not an easy look to pull off. I doubt that I need to tell you this as I am sure that you have seen countless fails. These attempts are made more often than not by those who have yet to master fit let alone have the prowess that it takes to pull off the madras jacket. If you are brave enough to take the plunge. My advice to you is to keep it simple. See the “how to wear it well” pics below.
Not only is it hard to wear madras jackets, but they are also hard to find. Well, the small-medium-large sized variety in patch madras are not hard to find. This isn’t too surprising considering these pieces are usually no more than cheap costume clothing rather than functional clothing. This is exactly the look that you want to avoid. Finding a correctly constructed and sized sport jacket in non-patch madras is a bit more difficult. I did find a few. Brooks Brothers has two nice madras jackets and O’Connell’s has a large selection of vintage bleeding madras jackets available right now. If I were in the market I would head over to O’Connell’s.
O’Connell’s Clothing Madras Sport Coats $295
Brooks Brothers Madras Sport Coats $398
Let’s do a quick recap of this post. Madras sport coats are hard to find and even harder to wear. So you may be asking, why wear them at all? It is simple. When done well they look cool (see pictures). They also keep you cool. I myself am not quite ready to attempt a madras jacket yet, but I am getting closer every summer.
The weather is finally warming it up and as a result my lack of warm weather jackets is becoming painfully obvious. Due to budgetary restraints I decided that a very casual cotton or linen summer jacket will be the place to begin. The reason I started with the casual jacket is that they have a soft construction/shoulder by design and even better they are widely produced, which means that I may be able to stray the Brooks Brothers, J.Press, O’Connell’s path and find one on the cheap.
I did manage to stray from the establishments of Tradsville and ended up far from home at Uniqlo. I was on H&M’s site looking at linen jackets, not seeing much that I liked, and through some type of psychological brand association I ended up on the Uniqlo site. After navigating to the blazer section, I was immediately attracted to the shape of their jackets. I loved them. They reminded me of the vintage Brooks Brothers sack illustrations that I recently posted. So much so, that I can’t imagine that the classic sack jacket wans’t the inspiration for the design of these jackets or at least the shoulders. I was hooked.
Uniqlo Premium Linen Jacket
Vintage Brooks Brothers Madras Image
I purchased the Premium Linen jacket in blue mini-herringbone for $69.99. It is darted, with a 3/2 roll, and a very natural shoulder. I ordered a small which to my surprise fits a lot like a 37R. The jacket matches up with the measurements available online, but for some reason I expected it to show up fitting like a 36XS. I take my hat off to Uniqlo for fighting the urge to make small mean xs.
Like all off the rack clothing there are going to be a few issues. This jacket needs one, maybe two alterations. The sleeves need to be shortened (cheating in the pic) and the jacket could benefit from some waist suppression. Neither of these issues reflects poorly on the jacket. Unfortunately, it is just a touch long for me which may seal its fate.
If you are looking for a cheap summer jacket Uniqlo is worth checking out. This jacket has a great sack shape even though it is darted. It does have 3/2 roll, even if there is not much of a roll, but to be fair, I have said the same thing about a newer 3/2 roll from Brooks Brothers. I am not an expert on construction or material, but if had to take a guess on the quality of this jacket which I would base on price point and I would say that it is of pretty mediocre construction. Nonetheless, this is a well-shaped and well-priced jacket. I am not sure if I will keep or return my jacket due to the length, but I can tell you that I really want to keep it.
*The Premium Linen jacket appears to have very limited availability. However, the linen cotton jacket has a great shape, too, just minus the 3/2 roll. See below.
Uniqlo Linen Cotton jacket in Navy (more colors available)