Archive for November, 2013

Striped Tweed Challenge

I think that I owe someone an apology. Christian at Ivy Style posted an ode to the vertical striped jackets (see here) a while back and I remember saying something like, “Maybe I do have some youth left in me, because I think that they look dated (vertical striped jackets). That is not to say that I have not seen one worn well, but I do not think that it is easy look pull off.” Not too long after that guess what happened? Guilty. I ran into two vintage vertical striped tweed jackets that I could not pass up. Time to face my own challenge. Can I pull them off?

The first of the two tweeds is a Deansgate made for the Crimson shop. It is grey herringbone with subtle green and blue stripes. The muted colors lends a solemn quality to the jacket which I like very much. It also features the always cool throat latch. I have worn this jacket exactly as I would a a solid grey herringbone sport coat with good results. It is quickly becoming one of my favorite sport coats.

Grey Striped Tweed
Grey tweed, yellow tie, and university striped shirt

Yellow tie and Striped Grey Tweed

Greet tie and Grey Tweed

The second tweed is very bold. It is a brown/tan herringbone with orange, brown and light blue stripes. While I have not yet determined the maker I can say that the shoulders are wonderfully soft and it fits me really well. I think that because of the great fit I was able to wear this jacket with confidence. I paired it with a pair of golden brown cords on the first wear and British khaki chinos the second. I prefer the chinos look of the two, but I will definitely pair them with the cords again. Perhaps this will be my excuse to purchase some tan corduroys. Even though this jacket is louder than the jackets that I typically wear I think that it will serve me well.Stripe Brown Tweed and Cords
Brown Tweed and Green Rep TieBrown Striped Tweed and tan chinos

Orange Paisley Tie and Brown Tweed

It turns out that I don’t think that vertical striped tweed jackets look dated and it is not that hard to pull them off either. I say this, because I think that I pulled them off and if I can do it anyone can. The second tweed was much more challenging to coordinate with, but even with its bold stripes I never felt that it looked outdated. In the end I was wrong…again. Christian you were right. vertical striped sport coats are cool. Live and learn.



Wittenberg University 1963 & 1965

It is time for another installment of pictures from vintage Wittenberg University yearbooks. It has been very cold out this weekend which made spending a few hours in the library with a cup of coffee even more appealing. Flipping through these old yearbooks always invokes a feeling of nostalgia in me for a time that I never lived. While I would never want to return to these times I do romanticize the days when men took more pride in their appearance, when everyday life was deserving of a tie and jacket, and when youth chased adulthood and not the other way around (I did include some college shenanigans to balance it out!). In order to provide plenty of eye candy for my readers (and food for Tumblr) during this holiday week I have combined pictures from both 1963 & 1965’s yearbooks. Enjoy!

Witt Faculty Color 1963-65

Sport Coats 1963-65

Wittenberg Track Coach 1963Witt Students #1


Witt Faculty 1963-65 #9Witt 1963Cord Sport Cut 1963-65

Man in suit 1963

Tennis Player 1963Intramurals 1963

Witt Student 1963-65 #5Witt Student 1963-65 #3Witt Faculty #7Frisby 1963-65Witt Faculty 1963-65 #7 CoachWitt Student CoupleCoat and Tie

Witt Faculty 1963-65 #6_Intramurals 1963-65 #2Witt Faculty #2Bug JokesWitt Student 1963-65 #4Witt Student 1963-65 #10Witt Faculty #3

Moving in 1963Witt Students #3Pep band

Collegiate Cut Chinos Part Two: Jack Donnelly Khakis

My quest for Collegiate cut chinos has led me to a pair of Jack Donnelly’s chinos. I am sure that many of my readers are already familiar with this brand. However, this post is not about the brand itself, but the fit of the chinos and most importantly finding a consistent resource for chinos in the Collegiate cut. The chinos in this post are size 30 slim fit Daltons in British khaki. I want to shout out Jack Donnelly for donating a pair of chinos to my cause (Thanks!). You have to respect the confidence that they have in their product. Now let’s get to it!

First and foremost of importance are the measurements:

A) RISE 10″ (outseam minus inseam)
C) KNEE 9”
E) WAIST 30″

So far these chinos come closest to having the Collegiate cut right out of the box. The leg opening is 7.5” which is just about perfect for me using the “your leg opening should be 3/4ths of the length of your shoe” standard. The overall drop from the top of the thigh to the leg opening is 37.5% which is in line with the 40% drop that Collegiate cut trousers generally feature. However, the rise comes in at 10 inches which is just a little too short for the collegiate cut look.

JD Chinos

Unfortunately these chinos were not the Collegiate cut chinos that I am searching for. First, the rise was not quite high enough. Secondly, the drop was not dramatic enough. I am tempted to give the Dalton khakis in regular fit a try. I have heard that they feature a higher rise (somewhere around 11.5 inches) and with a fuller thigh I could create a more dramatic drop with a little tapering.

Overall, these are the best OTR chinos that I have found yet. The material is great; it is both soft and has a nice heft which results in a fantastic drape. They feature on seam pockets, are offered in a deep British khaki, and are made in the USA. There is not much more that you can ask for and 98$ is a very fair price. I do know that I will be grabbing a pair (or three!) of these chinos in the future as a man can’t live on Collegiate cut trousers alone, but for now the search for the perfect pair of Collegiate cut chinos continues.

I Don’t Give A Duck

Lately I have feeling more confident about the way that I dress. I have my New Year’s Resolution to thank for a lot of that. I have been wearing a jacket and tie twice a week for almost a year now. What used to be foreign to me is now very familiar. One of the biggest changes is my attitude towards emblematic, club, or critter ties… whatever you want to call them. You know, ties covered in heraldic shields, upland game, and favorite prep pastimes.  I didn’t think that I would be able to pull off one of these ties until I was well into my 40’s, but now I just don’t give a duck. Not a single flying duck!

I have accumulated a few duck emblematic ties even though I am not sure quite why I am drawn to them. The only hunting that I have done is at the grocery store or at my most rugged the famers market, and never for duck. However, I have grown quite fond of them. My best guess is that I have read the OPH (Official Preppy Handbook) one too many times. In celebration of my new found confidence I thought that I should share my little collection of ties, but first I leave you with a few words from the OPH on this very subject.

 Straight from the OPH – THE DUCK MOTIF

The duck is the most beloved of all totems. The duck suggests  hunting,  water,  Maine – all the things worth thinking about. The basic duck is the mallard. The most common view of the duck is silhouette, although the duck in flight runs a close second. Three-dimensional decoys are nearly as popular and may appear as lamp bases, planters, doorstops, candlesticks, and paper weights.  Ducks themselves – real ducks – may be of little interest. It is the representation of the duck that counts. And the less the object has to do with ducks, the more it cries out for duck adornment. Ducks are stenciled, engraved, embroidered. Embossed, debossed, appliqued, mounted, and otherwise emblazoned on wood, brass, fabric, leather. silver, glass, crystal – anything.


Duck Tie 1Duck Ties 2Duck Ties 3Duck Ties 4Duck Ties 5

Collegiate Cut Chinos Part 1

I have been pursuing the perfect pair of chinos for as long as I can remember. Part of the problem was that I did not know exactly what I was looking for, but after years of wearing chinos 99.99% of the time I am starting to figure it out. What I am looking for is a pair of “collegiate cut” chinos. Billax (Frequent contributor and Ivy Style connoisseur) wrote about them earlier on my blog (Uprising!).

The Perfect ChinosThe Perfect chinos in action. These have it all.

Collegiate cut chinos which were popular in the late 50’s and early 60’s. They have three defining characteristics. First, they have a high rise that generally falls somewhere in between 11-12”. They also have a fuller thigh which is common enough, but they have a narrow leg opening. You can easily find low rise slim fit chinos today, but finding chinos with a decent rise and a slim, but not tight thigh and a narrow leg opening is proving to be a challenge.

The Ivy Look Slim Chinos

Talon Ad from 1955Both ads are from 1955 and were found over at the always awesome Ivy League Look Blogspot.

Not being able to find this type of chino available for sale I was inspired by Worried Man, a frequent contributor to Talk Ivy. Worried Man consistently sports lovely looking collegiate cut chinos which he has had tapered to his own taste. I set out to do the same.

Woored Man's Collegiate cut  chinosWorried Man from Talk Ivy looking cool in his collegiate cut chinos.

The first hurdle I encountered was getting the ratios correct. Both Worried Man and Billax were kind enough to share the measurements of their chinos as well as other valuable tidbits. I will start with the leg opening, because it is the most important factor.

The leg opening is a moving target, because how large or small it is depends on the size of your shoe. In general your leg opening should be 75% of your shoe length and it should cover the laces of your shoe. This is more for dress pants than casual pants. The leg opening on collegiate cut chinos is smaller at about 70% of the shoe length.

I did a little bit more math based on the collegiate cut measurements that I was supplied before I started working on my own chinos. From the top of the thigh (directly below the crotch) to the knee there is about a 29-31% drop. From the knee to the leg opening it is about 16-17%. The overall drop from the top of the thigh to the leg opening comes in at around 41-44%. These numbers are useful to get a feel for the dimensions of the trousers.

More measurements:

O’Connell’s Old Stock Madras c. 1965
a) Outseam 41 1/2″
b) Inseam 29 1/4 ”
c) (a-b) Rise 12 1/4″
d) Leg Opening 8 1/4″
e) Knee 9 7/8″
f) Bottom of Crotch 13 7/8″
g) waist 33 1/2″

To create my pair of collegiate cut trousers I started with a pair of  size 30 waist tailored fit Lands End chinos that I purchased on sale for $25.  The rise measured at 10.5” which is less than I wanted, but I decided that it would be manageable. The top of the thigh was is 12.25”, the knee 9” and the leg opening 7.75”. I took two pair to my tailor and had him reduce the leg opening to just under 7.5”. I talked to him about what I was trying to accomplish and left with high hopes.

Collegiate Cut Chinos Cew

College tryNeither pair turned out great and they have both slightly different measurements. The pair on the bottom actually has a wider leg opening and is less tapered. Update: I added a new pic 11/5 that better illustrates the fit.

On the way to pick up my chinos I was very excited. I was imagining that I would now have the perfect pair of chinos and much more importantly I would have a repeatable process to get more! However, I was a little disappointed in the way that they turned out. The thigh is too baggy and the taper does not look seamless. I think that the biggest issue is that I had to have the waist taken in a size which left extra material in the upper thigh and seat area. I am not giving up, not yet. I am going to give it the old college try! To be continued…