Archive for April, 2014

Duck Head is Back…Again

Duck Head Website

It appears that someone has decided to relaunch the brand Duck Head. Duck Head reminds me (and apparently others) of  5th and 6th grade just like a pair of Eastland mocs. I bet Duck Head is as nostalgic of that time as I am.

Another Duck Head reference I found while researching the brand,

“After all, it was the 1980s, Ronald Reagan was in the White House, God was making a comeback, and Duck Head khakis with heavily starched Polo shirts were the official uniform of campus life.”

 – Joe Scarborough
Extracted from Rome Wasn’t Burnt In A Day

The brand got its start in the early 20th century, but back then they were making work wear out of tent cloth. In the late 1980s they became a fashion brand creating the memorable Duck Head chinos that featured their signature mallard emblem. The chinos caught on in the south  (The Trad reflects here and here.). Bought out in ’85 the brand went national and continued to grow until the early nineties, but went bankrupt in 2005.
Duck Head Chinos                                                                           Picture from a College Trad.

They have been picked up and dropped again since then leaving me to wonder if that will be their destiny. It will be interesting to see what is in store for this once iconic southern chino company. According to the countdown clock on their homepage I won’t have to wait to find out as they are scheduled to launch on May 1st.

Fun in the Sun

John Knobel, Narrabeen, Teenager’s Weekly 1962

I am longing for summer. Actually, with temps averaging around 10 degrees below average I would settle for a little bit of spring at this point. This revelation was brought to light when I caught a glimpse of the albums (See below) that made up my current Spotify playlist which contains songs with titles such as “Surfer Girl,” Harbor lights,” ”Sidewalk Surfer Girl,” but I shouldn’t have been too surprised as the playlist is called “Summer Fun.”
Beach Boys Surfer Girl Album CoverBeat Surf Fun - Tullycraft

It seems that summer is on everyone’s mind. For instance, there is a Tropical Ivy thread in full swing over at Talk Ivy, I have been seeing seersucker and madras making almost daily appearances on Ask Andy’s Trad forum, and I am sure that Christian from Ivy Style is ready to play golf day in and day out as he recently launched his Golf Style website.

Slim Aarons Tennis in Bermuda                                                                       Photo by Slim Aarons

As for me, I have been soaking it all in spending time looking at old surfing pics, pictures of people enjoying exotic locations from Slim Aarons, and other vintage images that involve warm weather fun. I have never actually been surfing and I have no immediate plans to either, but the pics possess a sense of adventure, freedom, and youth that just screams summer.
Ron Church Surf's up                                                                      Ron Church Photo
1950-60s surfing

 I have also been doing a little summer planning for the blog. Just last summer I wore my first ever short sleeve button-front shirt and I have a feeling I may add one or two (maybe even a print!) this summer. I also have a few summer shoe ideas, more on the white canvas summer sneaker, a post about the “uniform” that I have adopted for my own golf outings, and more.

So, hurry up and get ready to take it easy. There will be plenty of sun friendly posts coming over the next few months. It is time for some summer fun!

People Watching: ds23pallas

Featured Image

More so than books like Take Ivy, classic ad campaigns from Ralph Lauren, or even vintage ads from the Ivy boom I am inspired by clothes being worn by real people. I have learned a lot from watching how others interpret traditional American dress. When done very well it is almost undetectable. It is this style that I am most drawn to. It is often so restrained and unexciting that it is very seldom featured in modern advertisements, but in the real world free from the constraints of stylist and marketing it exists. One person that embodies this look is Ask Andy Trad’s poster ds23pallas.

I asked ds23pallas if I could post a few of his pics on my blog for my readers to enjoy and he asked why I liked them so much. I didn’t expect that. I told him that I was a fan of his style, because it is simple, put together well, but never looks affected. There is a very natural quality about his pictures and I always get the feeling that he couldn’t be any more comfortable in his clothes. He is never quite dressed up, but could go just about anywhere in what he is wearing. He has a look that is both neat and rumpled at the same time. I could go on about the use of subdued color, hearty fabrics, and texture, but I won’t.

I got a response from ds23pallas saying, “Heartier fabrics? That’s because it’s cool or cold most of the year where I live. I’m also not a fan of fussy fabrics that need to be coddled. I own the damned clothes not the other way around.” He went on to tell me that a few of his favorite items were hand me down Shetlands, knit, ties, and sacks that just fit. I have included a few of my favorite pictures below. Enjoy a little people watching.
Duffle Jacket
Brooks Brothers Poplin Sack SuitGreen Tweed SackBrunt Orange Knit Tie Old Truxton sack sport coatGrid Check shirt and knit tieHoundstooth sack sport coat
School Boy Scarf1980's Brooks Borhters Hopsack Sack BlazerGreen Sack Blazer

The Casual Hoodie from Barbarian

Casual Hooded Rugby

 

I have mentioned that I enjoy sports here and there on the blog before, but I don’t think that I have been clear about just how important athletics are in my life. I almost always do something physical every single day (It is such a great stress reliever and makes for a happier healthier me.) whether that is running, cycling, free weights, racquetball, golf, tennis, etc., but a lot of the time it is simply a trip to the gym. I don’t think much about what I wear to the gym (I have a gym uniform just like I have a work uniform), but when my go to sweatshirt fell apart I decided that it was time to upgrade my gym gear.
Barbarian RugbyThe death of my hooded sweatshirt presented the perfect opportunity to get the Barbarian hooded rugby (Barbarian) that I had been eyeing ever since Muffy Aldrich brought the brand to my attention. I was drawn to the Barbarian hoodie, because of its heavy weight cotton, sturdy construction, and simple style. I debated on purchasing a traditional rugby instead of the hooded version, but I really do like having the hood available when working out. It makes a drizzle endurable, helps to keep you warm in-between activity, and there is something about donning a hood that makes an early morning trek to the gym tolerable.
Rugb y JerseysI planned on wearing my new rugby strictly for athletic pursuits, but that is not how it turned out. I was about to leave the house a few Saturdays ago to run errands when it decided to start sprinkling. Not only did it rain, but the rain really cooled down the temperature. I threw on my Barbarian hoodie and headed out. It ended up being the perfect layer and it added a nice causal element to my rig which kept the guy at the coffee shop from asking me if I had to work like he does when I wear a Shetland on Saturday mornings.
Green & Blue Striped RugbyI liked the look of my hooded rugby so much that I have worn it outside of the gym a few more times since that first rainy morning. I also like the feel and fit of the rugby so much that I am considering buying another. I got a small the first time which fits like a large small or a small medium. This was perfect as I wanted to be able to wear layers underneath it (they also offer XS). I see myself purchasing a traditional rugby in green/blue stripes in the near future similar to the one pictured above which influenced my interest in the color. This time I know full well that my rugby will function as more than just gym gear.

Bonus pic of the cutest rugby sporting dog that I have ever seen:

Dog in a Rugby

The Land Ends Ahead

HP Collar Roll

I have been purchasing staples such as OCBDs, chinos, and cords from Lands’ End for years, but it seems that times are changing. No longer can I turn to Lands’ End for OCBDs, or any button-down shirt for that matter that isn’t destined for weekend wear, because of their small collars (Not like the collar roll pictured above which is from Lands’ End.). Now I have to add chinos to this list of items that I cannot depend on them for. These changes didn’t happen overnight, but I have finally realized that a lot of what I loved about Lands’ End is gone and it isn’t coming back anytime soon.

The first change that caught me by surprise is when they discontinued the Lands’ End Original Oxford (See label below.). This was my go to shirt. This change happened back in 2012. At first I thought that they were just out of stock. No big deal. However, a Lands’ End employees commented on my blog confirming that the the shirts were gone and that they had no plans to bring them back. They also said that the no-iron version would remain available, but you and I both know that just won’t do.
LE-Original-Oxford-Ligth-Blue-300x225Luckily, they still produced the Hyde Park OCBD in the must-iron variety. I purchased a few Hyde Park OCBDs (See packaged below) and was pleased with them. The material was stiffer than the material they used for the Original Oxfords and they cost about $20 more, but it was still a good value when I compared them to my other options (Brooks Brothers, J.Press, Mercer, etc.). Then things took a turn for the worse.
Lands" End Hyde parkA couple months later I picked up a few more Hyde Park OCBDs. It was not the same shirt. The collar length was now extremely short (from 3 1/4” to 2 3/4”). So short that the wonderful collar roll that I had once been able to obtain with their shirts like the one in the top picture was no more. This impact of this change was huge. Much bigger than just discontinuing the shirt I preferred (Which I am still very upset about.). They had now officially removed themselves from the you-can-buy-OCBDS-from-these-stores list and ended up on the avoid-these-OCBDs list. You can read some of the discontent in my comments section here:Lands’ End: The Original OCBD & The Hyde Park OCBD
Lands End CommentsIf you don’t follow my blog regularly you may not know that I have been searching for a pair of collegiate fit chinos. The important part to know is that I need chinos that are readily available so that I can easily repeat the alteration process. Lands’ Ends tailored fit plain front chinos fit the bill…or so I thought, but a few weeks ago they decided to discontinue these and replace them with Lighthouse Chinos. Are these the same pants with a different name? Who could know? It is this type of disregard for their customer base that liked that model that concerns me the most.

The writing has been on the wall for a few years, but what it says is now coming true. What is says, is that Lands’ End is not a company that values tradition, reliability, and consistency. They will change fit, proportions, color names, or simply discontinue a product with no notice. If they currently carry an item that you like I encourage you to stock up before it is too late. You can always make a return. At least their customer service is still excellent.