Archive for March, 2014

Wallabees in the Wild

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A pair of Clarks Wallabees may not be one of the first shoes that come to mind when one thinks of Trad, Ivy, or Preppy shoes. In fact, it may remind some readers of one of the most non-traditional decades in terms of dress the 1970’s. However, Wallabees have been a part of my wardrobe since the mid-90’s and there is something that I find classically casual about the shoe.

It is true that most classic casual shoes such as the penny loafer, bit loafer, tassel loafer (probably a few more loafers), and of course their brand cousin the desert boot are all pretty sleek. The Wallabee is not a sleek shoe and may have more in common with a long wing gunboat or all weather walkers with its chunky sole than its casual counterparts. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes hearty clothes such as wide wale cords, a flannel shirt, jeans, or even a thick sweater can use an equally chunky shoe to balance out the look.
Authentic-Wallabee-Clark-570x300

If you are looking for an alternative to the boat shoe or camp moc I think that the Wallabee can make a nice addition especially in the spring/fall months. For those that are still on the fence I have included a few pics that may help to win you over and remember to always look for the real thing (Clarks Wallabee vs Clarks Padmore).

Wallabees in the Winter

Wallabees for Business

 These may not be Wallabees, but they could be.

Cords-Shetland-WallabeesMens Club 1981 via Heavy Tweed JacketWallabees and Sweater

Collegiate Cut Chinos Part 4: The Saga Continues

Vintage-Collegiate-Cut-Trousers2

I am still in pursuit of a pair of collegiate fit chinos (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3).  I recently picked up a pair of vintage chinos from Newton Street Vintage with the perfect taper (or so I thought) and I set out to reproduce them. This seemed like a pretty straight forward task and I thought that it would be the answer to all of my chino problems. Spoiler alert: They were not the cure-all. However, I did learn quite a bit about tailoring and myself in the process.
Vintage Collegiate Cut TrousersI brought 4 pair of Lands’ End Tailored fit chinos (Which have suddenly disappeared from the website…discontinued?) to my tailor along with the vintage chinos that would serve as the pattern. This was mistake number one. I should have started by altering one pair of chinos and if that was successful then brought in the other pairs. However, my desire for a wardrobe full of perfectly fitting chinos and the fact that my tailor is an hour haul from my house prevented me from seeing the flaw in my plan.

A week later I picked up my chinos and once again experienced the thrill of holding what I thought to be the perfect chinos in my hands. I rushed home and tried them on. They looked great! I could not wait to wear them the next day.
Collegiate Cut Chinos

I left my house with my collegiate fit chinos creased up and looking very sharp. I took a picture (Picture above). I reviewed it. I was very pleased. Unfortunately this feeling did not last long.
Chino Knee Bulge ProblemAfter a few hours of sitting at my desk the once sharp looking trousers with a sleek silhouette now looked much different. The area from my knee to my ankle had completely lost its shape and the trousers that had looked perfect on me only a few hours ago now looked way too small and ill fitting (Picture above). This is when I realized my 2nd mistake. I should have asked the seamstress to leave some extra material so that I could let the chinos out a little if the experiment did not work. I will be doing this going forward.

I don’t want to let the negative outcomes of this portion of my journey overshadow the good that came from it, as I learned quite a bit. Here are a few things that I learned:

  1. (Know Yourself) I have muscular legs and I will have to take this into consideration when tapering trousers. I used to think that my chinos flared out below the knees because the leg opening was too small. It turns out that they did this because my calf muscle was pulling them one way and my knee/thigh the other.
  2. (Be Patient) Don’t get all of your clothes altered at once unless you are certain that will like the result.
  3. (Be Cautious) If you are not certain that you will like the result of your alterations ask the seamstress to leave some material so that the operation can be reversed.

Collegiate Cut Chinos First Attempt
I also learned a little bit more about collegiate fit chinos specifically. The percentages that I gave in my first post (Collegiate Cut Chinos Part 1) seem to hold true. In this post, I attempted to go slimmer than the numbers recommended and I learned my lesson. The leg opening on these trousers is 7.25” (Picture at top of  page), but the trousers that I had tapered to 7.45” in the previous collegiate fit chinos post worked a lot better for me (Picture above). However, the skinnier thigh on the new pairs fit better.

The biggest lesson I learned from this experiment is that what I want and what looks best on me are not always going to be the same thing. My hunt for collegiate fit chinos appears to be merging with my pursuit of the perfect chinos. I now have more questions to answer such as, “Would a heavier chinos help reduce the knee bulge?” , “Would a poly/cotton (Yeah I said poly) help?”, and “Is this just the nature of chinos?”. If anyone has any thought I would love to here them.

Spoiling a Good Walk

Fairway

I am excited to see temperatures finally breaking into the 60’s. I am especially excited, because I began going to the driving range with my stepdad at the end of last summer and I am eager to pick up where I left off. Unfortunately, where I left off was trying to consistently make contact with the ball using my driver. However, learning has been just as fun as it has been frustrating.
Chick Evans 1916 AmateurChick Evans                                                               Charles “Chick” Evans (Above)

I have already been to the driving range a handful of times over the last two months. Just like life, some days have been really good and others have been just plain awful. I plan on getting out on an actual course before too long which of course got me thinking about what I will wear.
bobby jones                                                                                    Bobby Jones
Jim Barnes                                                                                     Jim Barnes

I did a few searches on the internet for golf apparel. Like all sports it appears that golf clothing too is now primarily composed of synthetic technical fabrics. This lead me to the conclusion that all I really need is a pair of golf shoes. I think that my old chinos, OCBD’s, and polos will more than suffice. Plus, I have plenty of sweaters for the brisk mornings.

I spent the rest of my time on the internet looking at vintage pictures of golf which got me even more excited for warm weather and time spent outdoors. I wish everyone the best of luck on the course this year!

Weejun Repair Part Two

Brown Weejuns

It was time to get new soles for my brown Weejuns. Well, not just soles, the heels are wearing down, too. Basically, they need an overhaul. The last time (and my first time) that I took a pair of loafers in for new soles I walked away from the situation a little disappointed. I planned on changing that this time around.

Before I start discussing my experience I am sure that many of you are wondering why am I spending money to repair a pair of Weejuns?  After all Weejuns are generally considered to be throw away shoes by anyone who has any experience with quality shoes. My reasoning is actually quite simple. They fit well and they are comfortable. These are two attributes that should never be overlooked.

New Weejun Sole

Weejuns-with-New-SolesNewly repaired Weejuns on the top. Previously repaired Weejuns with half-soles on the bottom.

Armed with the knowledge that I gained from my previous experience I headed to the cobbler. This time I went to a different cobbler that I had heard good things about even though the shop was 30 minutes away. It’s not that the previous cobbler did a bad job, but I wanted to see if there was a difference in the experience and quality of work.

When I showed them my shoes the first thing the man said was, “Well, we have a few options.” This was music to my ears. He presented both the full sole and half-sole options and explained the benefits of each. This is exactly what I felt that my previous experience lacked; the advice of an expert.
Brown Weejun Comparison PicWeejun Comparison Burgundy 2I went with the full sole and heel replacement. I was not disappointed. The shoes were returned to me looking brand new unlike the prior half-sole replacement. You can see this in the image above. The newly repaired Weejuns are on top and the previously half-soled Weejuns below.

The biggest difference is that the sole of this loafer did not gain bulk like the ones that received half-soles (see above). Also, because the entire sole was replaced there are no remains of the previously cracked sole (see below) like there is on my other pair. The full sole repair cost an extra $15 (a total of $60), which was well worth it in my opinion. However, I have a feeling that having a half-sole repair done here may yield better results than those done by the other repair shop.

Cracked Sole

One of the main goals of this blog is for me to make mistakes which will hopefully save the reader from having to make the same mistakes. Now I know that many of the readers of this blog possess a level of knowledge about clothing that I may never attain, but I am sure that many readers like me are still learning the ropes. My hope is that posts like this help to speed up the learning curve.