Archive for December, 2013

The Third Button and Throat Latch

Throat Latch

I received a new to me vintage tweed sport coat not that long ago. This particular sport coat featured both the always desirable 3/2 roll and the ever cool throat latch. This got me thinking. Other than looking cool what is the purpose of third button and the throat latch? I know that the throat latch can be buttoned, but I have never actually seen this done before.Norfolk Jacket                                From Gentlemans’s Gazette’s great article on Norfolk Jackets (see here)

The first thing to keep in mind is the origin of sport coats. Sport coats were introduced in the 19th century for hunting, shooting, and riding. There are different types such as the Norfolk jacket which may be the original sport coat and the primarily equestrian Hacking jacket. Both of these jackets featured throat latches. When the throat latch is buttoned and the lapel is flipped the sport coat then fully protects the wearer from the elements. The sport coat became everyday attire in the twentieth century which led to more and more variations on the sport coat.
Tweed Buttoned up                   My Jacket with the 3rd button closed on a 3/2 roll sport coat (Gasp!). It will be okay. I promise.

My sport coat is the perfect example of the modern tweed sport coat. It differs from the Hacking and Norfolk jackets as it does not have a ticket pocket or a belt, it only has one vent, and a 3/2 roll closure. It does have a third button so it can still theoretically be buttoned all the way up and a throat latch, but are these merely decoration or do they work? There was only one way to find out. I pulled my tweed out of the closet and buttoned it up. All the way up. It was a success.
3/2 Roll Jacket Closed                                                                     Ready to face inclement weather.

Once again we have sport to thank for this piece of classic clothing. The 3/2 roll tweed sport coat is rooted in the days before central heating and horseless carriages making the third button and throat latch valuable assets. However, times have changed and protection from the elements is now better handled by attached garages, remote car starts, and heated car seats, but I can see myself putting the third button and throat latch to good use when a warm fall day turns into a chilly fall evening.

The Office Christmas Party Post

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I am not generally one that likes to participate in “spirit days” like wear a hat to work, support your favorite team or other themed days. This often leads to me being labeled a no-fun-wet-blanket kind of guy which is not true. I am just shy. This year my work had a Christmas party with a tackily festive dress code which included ugly Xmas sweaters. I thought that it was time for me to push my nerves aside and participate.Xmas Party Cords

I immediately started to think about what I would wear. If you have ready my blog before I think it is apparent that I am anything, but over the top. This meant that I was going to need to purchase something for my party.  My first thought was a sweater, because well, I really like sweaters. The internet determined my search for an “ugly” sweater that I would actually like (I was looking for something with reindeer?) to be fruitless. It looked like trousers would have to be how I put the fun into my holiday rig.

The trouser options were clear to me. It was either festive cords or wool tartan trousers. I will be honest. I would like to own both, but spending money on something that I would  rarely get to wear has proved to be enough to keep me away this long. After thinking it over I decided to go with cords. They would be cheaper, but more importantly I thought that they would fit in better at the party and after all that was the whole purpose of this purchase.
Castaway Clothing Santa Cords
Castaway Clothing Santa Emroidered Beachcomer Cords -$158
oconnells santa cordsO’Connell’s Snowmen Embroidered Wide Wale Cords – $175

The next question was embroidered or plain? I was leaning towards Christmas embroidered cords as I was sure that these would do the trick. I was going back and forth in between a pair or red cords from Castaway Clothing with red Santas or a pair red wide wale cords with snowmen from O’Connell’s (Check our there awesome “Grinch” twills!). I was leaning towards the O’Connell’s cords because of the width of the wale until I saw a pair of red cords at Lands’ End on sale for $15. This made the decision very easy.

Christmas Party CordsChristmas Party Cords

I pulled the trigger on the red cords from Lands’ End. I knew that I could pair them would pair my green Rugby sweater and planned to buy some Christmas socks to create a look that should be tacky enough to pass muster. On the day of the party felt a little self-conscious when I left my house about wearing what to me felt like a very flamboyant outfit. To my surprise my red cords flew under the radar during my morning errands and received a few kind words at the party. This was $15 well spent and as it would turn out the socks were the biggest hit.

Tying One On with Ivy Inspired

Ivy Inspired Logo

I came home to find a package from Tom Nascone at Ivy Inspired waiting for me at my door. I eagerly opened the box to find three handsome bow ties. I had sent Tom three ties that were a bit too wide for me to convert into bow ties and I was excited to see how they came out. I was not disappointed!

Batwing Bow Tie

This all came about by way of a bad purchase. During one of my many Saturday morning thrifts I found a vintage Brooks Brothers grey herringbone sport coat with all the trimmings. After a few failed attempts to convince myself that this jacket fit me I finally gave in and admitted that it was just too small. It was a great jacket and I wanted it to go to someone who would appreciate it. I tried to think who it might fit. The answer was Tom. After a quick email exchange a deal was struck. Tom would get the jacket and in exchange he would convert a few ties to bow ties for me.
Butterfly Bow Tie
This was the perfect trade for me as I have accumulated quite a few ties that are in need of alterations. I rarely buy ties that are over 3.25 inches, but sometimes a tie is just too good to pass up. Due to this I have about 10 ties that are too wide and need to be narrowed (I had them all in box ready to go to Tiecrafters). I want to learn how to alter ties myself as this would be an invaluable skill to have, but I do not want to ruin these great ties learning. I picked three ties out of  the box that I thought would make better bow ties than long ties, chose a different bow style for each, and sent them off to Tom.

Diamond Point Bow tieI am not a bow tie guy. In fact, I have only worn a bow tie once in my life and I want to change that, but I also want to avoid being labeled the bow tie guy. My plan is to mix a bow tie into my rotation once a month. This should break the ice and get people used to seeing me in a bow tie, but not only a bow tie. Tom did a great job on this project and I would encourage anyone that is in need of a bow tie or pocket square to check out his Ivy Inspired store. They are an excellent deal offered by a fine young man.

Sweating the Small Stuff by Billax

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The following is a reprinting of a post 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 style. He has allowed me to share many of his thoughts all of which can be found here: Sneakers by Billax, loafers by Billax, Uprising by Billax

“Sweating the small stuff” is at the heart of a number of detail oriented endeavors and projects. In underwriting securities, the Banker and the Analyst sweat the small stuff. Every risk factor is covered, every significant corporate assertion is fact-checked, and the financial statements are double and triple checked with the auditors. Big software projects “sweat the small stuff” to assure security, interaction with other software systems, and protect against hacker attacks. Hmmm. Given the massive problems with a current big software project, I’ll modify my assertion to say that all big software projects, SHOULD sweat the small stuff.

On a much less consequential level, I’d bet that each of us sweats the small stuff in our attire. I ‘sweat’ some things and overlook others. I turn a blind eye to details that are unimportant to me. I suspect that each of us would have a different list of the things we sweat and the things we don’t. Here are my ‘sweat’ and ‘no sweat’ lists:

Billax

 Sweat:

• Collar roll

• Tie dimple

• Matching the color of tab leather on surcingle belts to shoe color

• Edge dressing on shoes

• Cuff no break

• Jacket buttoned when standing, save when wearing waistcoat or sweater vest

• Every time I get dressed, I get my gig line straight

 No Sweat:

• Tie bottom above or below belt

• Shoe laces tied exactly perpendicular to tongue

• Pocket square, if it’s easy to find an appropriate one, I will, if not, then not.

• Wearing seasonal shoes (e.g., white bucks) beyond their annual expiration date

• Matching blade width of tie exactly to lapel width

• Matching sock color to pants or shoe color, especially when worn with sweaters or sport coats

• Etc….

 So, what do you sweat and what are you unwilling to futz around with?