Archive for August, 2013

My White Bucks

Summer is quickly coming to an end and I wanted to break out my white bucks before it completely passed me by and the chance was lost. White bucks are not a shoe that I would have purchased for myself, but the nice people over at G.H. Bass & Co. sent me a pair (unsolicited), of their Buckingham white bucks, which is very much appreciated (Thank You!). While I have shied away from such a bold shoe, white bucks are quintessentially American and there is no shoe that says summer quite like a pair of white bucks.

White Bucks in EsquireFrom Esquire Magazine via The Weejun

Wearing these shoes presented a challenge. I generally try to construct outfits that fly under the radar and this is hard to do while wearing bright white suede shoes. For my first outing, I paired them with a poplin Brooks Brothers 3/2 sack blazer, chinos, and a light blue/pink repp tie. I thought that pink/blue tie complimented the shoes and added a touch of playfulness to the outfit. Overall, I was comfortable in the outfit and I received multiple compliments on the bucks, but I thought that I could do better.

White Bucks Outfit 1Outfit #1

My second outfit was actually inspired by an old picture of Joseph Kennedy, Joe Jr. and a young JFK. My outfit was very different from theirs, but it was the casual sophistication of their outfits that I wanted to capture. This time I paired my white bucks with chinos, a white OCBD, Uniqlo linen jacket, and blue tie with red/white stripes. I thought that this tie added more contrast to the outfit as I had previously planned on wearing a pink Gant tie. In my opinion, this outfit was a success. I felt and looked at ease, exactly as you should on a sunny summer day.

White Bucks Outfit 2Outfit #2

Inspiration PicKennedy Inspiration Picture

White bucks have won over a new fan. As I previously said, I was apprehensive about wearing such a bold shoe, especially considering that I try to avoid rather than garner attention. However, the tradition of the shoe along with their association with summer inspired a laid back attitude in me which overcame my fear of looking like a dandy. I am actually a little disappointed that I waited so long to give my white bucks a try, but next summer is not as far away as it seems.

Penny Loafers for Penny Pinchers

Feature Logan Weejuns

Due to my lack of observation (and now known to me awkward gait) I have worn a hole almost right through the bottom of my Weejuns. This means that it is time for some new penny loafers (and that I stay on my toes!). While I am excited about getting new shoes my bank account is not on par with my desires. Basically, that means that pair of cordovan Alden LHS is out of the question. After a little bit of research I have narrowed my choices down to a few more reasonable options.

Weejun with HoleThe reason for new loafers.

Sebago Classic
Although they are better known for their Dockside boat shoe Sebago also offers a pretty nice pair of penny loafers. I have my eye on their Classic model in cordo. It looks like a solid loafer and even better, I have heard good things about them. The one thing that I don’t really like about this model is the beef roll. The Sebago Classic comes in at an affordable $145.

Sebago Classic Penny Loafer

The Sebago Classic ($145)

Johnston & Murphy Ski-Moc
While Johnston & Murphy (J&M) is not the company that they once were their penny loafer the Ski-Moc still gets a little love around the Trad world. The price of these loafers is $175, which is a bit high in my opinion. I am not sure that I could justify spending so much for a pair of J&M’s when I could probably spend a little more and get a pair of Allen Edmonds loafers. Another negative is the appearance of the seemingly unavoidable beef roll.

J&M Ski-Moc Penny LoaferJohnston & Murphy Ski-Moc ($175)

Allen Edmonds Walden
Allen Edmonds (AE) offers a variety of desirable loafers (Patriot, Randolph, Kenwood), but the Walden is more of what I am looking for due to its casual nature. The other selling point of the Walden is that they do not have a beef roll. However, there is something about the strap where the beef roll would be that looks a little off to me. The retail price of the Walden is $245.

AE Walden Penny Loafer

Allen Edmonds Walden ($245)

Bass Weejun Logan
The Weejun needs very little explanation as to why it is on my list. It is the classic penny loafer. Plus, it retails for $108 making it the most affordable shoe on my list.  The biggest downside to the Weejun is the plastic-like leather. Other than the shape, the biggest pro for the Weejun is that I know that they fit me well. Never underestimate fit.

Logan Weejun Penny Loafer

Bass Weejun Logan ($108)

The clock is ticking and I will need to make a purchase soon as this hole is getting very close to wearing completely through to the other side. The main reason that I have included the options that I have is that they are all available at the outlet mall not too far from my home. This will reduce the price of all the shoes that I have listed above. In fact, I can usually pick-up a pair of Weejuns for about $65 and I saw a pair of AE Waldens for around $150 not too long ago. I will update this post with the outlet prices after my next visit, but being a planner I needed a plan first.

Hand Sewn by Robert Talbott

This post combines two, wait, three of my favorite things, which are vintage menswear labels, ties and Robert Talbott ties. I am a sucker for vintage menswear labels (The University Shops & Co-ops) and now that I have a blog I sometimes purchase items at the thrift store just for the label, if the price is cheap enough. However, my first stop at thrift stores is always the tie rack. In fact, 99% of all my ties come from thrift stores and if I find a Robert Talbott tie I jump on it.

First, let me give a bit of back story on Robert Talbott. Robert started his career in menswear selling his wife’s handmade silk neckties to haberdasheries up and down the California coast. In 1953, they opened their own shop in Carmel, California and a second one in 1960. Today the company sells all kinds of clothing, but is still renowned for its ties.

Everyone has their favorite tie maker and Talbott ties are definitely in my top five. While I do not love all of their designs I could say that about any tie maker, but the quality of Robert Talbott ties is what makes them great. On top of that, they almost always knot well. The next time that you are out thrifting and see a Robert Talbott tie I encourage you to pick it up.

I have included a few pictures of my favorite Talbott ties. These ties were all made for local mens shops and the labels are very special to me. If anyone has any info on any of the shops featured on these labels I would be love to hear about them (I am familiar with Cable Car and DH Peer). Enjoy the pics and happy thrifting!

Robert Talbott For Cable Car ClothiersRobert Talbott for PeabodyRobert Talbott for Jack Henry
Robert Talbott for Clyde CampbellRobert Talbott for D.H. Peer

Fall in line

It is the first week of August, but due to a bout of cold weather you would not know it. Actually, it feels a lot more like fall than summer. This has demotivated me to take the few remaining summer items to the tailor that missed out on the first round of summer alterations. I think that round two will actually be comprised of my fall wardrobe rather than the summer items.

I know that it is a little early to be dreaming of Shetland sweaters and corduroy pants, but they will not prepare themselves. This is especially true for my new items. I am really excited about two vintage tweeds that are on their way to me as I type this and I am sure that they will need a tweak or two. Both of these jackets are striped tweeds which are often a variety that is referred to as a broken bone pattern.

Christian over at did a post on vertical striped jackets not too long ago. I commented that I always thought that these jackets look dated. I guess, I didn’t think that they looked dated enough to stop myself from buying one (or two) and now I have a challenge laying a head of me to prove to myself that I can make  the jacket look contemporary.

Vintage Deansgate For HarvardVintage Deansgate For Harvard

A Closer lookVintage BB Tweed qith Vertical striipesBold Striped tweed

My other items to be altered are primarily trousers. There are waists to be brought in, inseams to be shortened and a whole lot of tapering. Two pair of my cords made it through last season, but I think that with some minor adjustments they will move even higher in my rotation. Plus, I need to get more familiar with what taper will look best for me as I am still on the hunt for some well-cut chinos.

Taper CordsNeed a little tapering to reduce the flopping.

More Cords to TaperMore Cords to Taper (excuse the turned up cuffs)

Not only will I be getting my fall clothes ready, but I have also started the search for a few new fall/winter items. On my wish list is a heavy shawl collar cardigan, a heathered pink Shetland, and a heavier flannel blazer all patch and flap pockets. I will probably wonder what I was thinking when I wrote this post next week when the weather is again unbearably hot and humid. However, I think that this drop in temperature is a friendly reminder of what will come. This time I hope to be prepared.