Archive for May, 2014

A Blazer for All Seasons

I was recently asked by a reader how many blazers I had in my rotation. I thought that this was a great question that deserved its own blog post. I used to think that I only needed one blue blazer. Those were the days. I currently have 3 blue blazers and I have noticed that I still have a few holes to fill. Let me give you a quick run-down.
1818 Blazer1818 Blazer and grey wool trousersThe first blazer up is my Madison fit Brooks Brothers 1818 3/2 sack blazer (pictured above). This blazer is my go-to-year-round blue blazer. It looks polished with grey flannels and at home with a pair of chinos. If I was going to recommend a first blazer it would be this one (or O’Connell’s worsted wool blazer). This is the type of blazer that is the cornerstone of a traditional business wardrobe. Also, this is the only blazer that I have purchased new and consequently it is the best fitting jacket that I have. There is a lesson in there.
Poplin Blazer 1Poplin BlazerNext, is my vintage Brooks Brothers wash-n-wear poplin blazer (above). This is a lightweight summer blazer with a relaxed look. Generally, you see wash-n-wear items sold as suits and similarly you will hear many people (mostly on clothing forums) advising you not to wear them as separates. This blazer helps to illustrate that it can be done. I love throwing this jacket on in the summer.
Deansgate Hopsack BlazerDeansgate Lapel RollMy newest blazer is a Deansgate blazer that was made for the Princeton University Store (above). This is another blazer made for warmer weather. Here it is not the material like the poplin blazer above that makes it suitable for warm weather, but the hopsack weave. Hopsack is a loose weave that allows for breathing. I actually had this blazer shortened about .5” (which deserves its own post). It is still a little big in the skirt area, but it has a fantastic lapel roll and drape to make up for it.
J.Press Flannel Blazer

The three blazers above make up my rotation, but as I mentioned I do see a few gaps that will need to be filled at some point. The next blazer that I would like to add to my wardrobe is a fall/winter weight doeskin or flannel blazer. Doeskin and flannel are very similar in weight, but doeskin has less nap which may give it a hair of an edge in terms of formality. Both J.Press (pictured above) and O’Connell’s offerings are high on my list.
Tropical Weight Blazer Although I already have two summer blazers I want another one. This blazer will be made from tropical weight wool. It is lighter than the hopsack blazer and more formal than my poplin blazer. Summer is a casual season, but business still happens and with this blazer you will be prepared. This one from J.Press looks great.

The blue blazer is one of the most iconic pieces of traditional American clothing. It is a workhorse. It can take you almost anywhere. If you are just starting out down this path I would start with a year round weight and add on from there, because as you can see the more you get the more you need.

The Differences between Trad, Ivy League and Preppy Chart

Trad Per

I am always interested in how people take on the task of defining Trad, Ivy, and Preppy styles in relation to one another. These articles generally end with lots of back and forth in the comment section which usually highlights how different schools of thought view this topic (Like this article: Same Or Different?: Ivy Versus Preppy). Some use time periods, others the age of the wearer, and others construct their arguments around a combination of clothing details and intent.

Still working on my own post where I attempt to define Trad (If I think that there is anything that I can add.) I have been reading and re-reading a lot of what is out there on the subject. I came across a recent post entitled “The Complete Guide to Preppy, Trad and Ivy Style” on Manligheter.se. This post caught my attention, because of its “Differences between Trad, Ivy League and Preppy” chart.

Here author Per Nilsson (The well dressed man pictured above) works to define these styles by providing their stance on various pieces of clothing, clothing details, and other lifestyle questions. While I did not find myself agreeing with every answer I found the chart to be very entertaining and definitely worth sharing. What changes would you make? What Questions would you add?
Differences Between trad, Ivy Preppy 1.1Trad Ivy 2.1Trad Ivy 3.1Trad Ivy 4.1

 

Stripes of Youth

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As a youngster stripes were one of the first trad items that I recognized as cool. They have a flashiness that appeals to youth, but when paired with the primarily subdued clothes of a trad that flash is reduced to a mere glimpse of color. However, moderation is not always an easy lesson to learn, especially when young, but this post is not about how to use stripes. It is about items with stripes that I would have liked to wear when I was in high school or even college.
Ralph Lauren Ribbon Loafer 2
Ralph Lauren Ribbon Loafer                                                                  Ralph Lauren Ribbon Loafers: $450

The Ralph Lauren loafers above were the inspiration for this post. Embellished with not only striped grosgrain, but a leather strap and buckle as well. These loafer are not for the unadventurous. And while they may not be the best choice for the office I think that they would do well on a college campus.
Smart Turnout Striped T-ShritSmart Turnout 4Smart turnout 3Smart turnout 2Smart Turnout 1
Smart Turnout T-Shirt: $55

The next item up is a t-shirt from Smart Turnout. Better known for their vast offerings of striped watchbands and socks the folks over at Smart Turnout will incorporate stripes into just about anything. What I like most about this t-shirt is that the stripes are limited to pocket; restrained, but definitely noticeable. I think that this would be an excellent choice(grey more so than white) for a middle school, high school, or even college student who is in need of a t-shirt for the gym, chores, or just lounging around the house.

Stripes are the equivalent to a gateway drug for trad clothing. making them a great way for young people to dip their toe into the trad world. In fact, I encourage them to indulge (in a responsible  way. Do not wear matching striped belt, socks, and watchband. Or socks and belt. Or more than on item. Or…) and I hope that they continue down this path until they find themselves clad in shetlands, cords, and oxford cloth.

More striped posts:
Watchbands
Regimental, Repp, & Rugby Striped Socks
Striped Hooded Rubgy

Is it Weird?

I came across these popovers while looking for a summer shirt at J.Crew. We all know that popovers have been popular for quite a few years now and they are a pretty common find these days. My question is, “does the hem make this popover look weird?”
J Crew Popover Shirt                                                                          J.Crew Popover $75.00

I am no expert when it comes to popovers, but most of the ones that I have seen had tails like a button-front shirt. The only popover that I ever owned was from Ralph Lauren and that was about 14 years ago so my memory is a little fuzzy. To the best of my recollection it was short sleeved in a muted madras with tails and it was great. The vintage popover below is finished like an ordinary button-front shirt, but these two occurrences would make for an awfully small set of data to draw a conclusion from.
Vintage Popover PatternIn my opinion, yes it looks weird. If you are wearing the shirt tucked in it won’t matter unless there is not enough shirt there to tuck in. However, I have a suspicion that the square hem was designed with “un-tuck” in mind. This is what makes it weird. The straight hem reminds me of scrubs, a nightgown, or at best a windbreaker. Needless to say I didn’t pull the trigger, but it left me wondering if I was alone in thinking these looked off which would not surprise me either.