Archive for December, 2014

United States of Trad: William Colby

In this edition of the United States of Trad I would like to introduce William Colby (1920-1996). Colby was a Princeton grad, OSS veteran, CIA agent and a controversial CIA director, but most importantly to this blog he knew and wore the look well.
Colby Family

I have had William Colby on my list to feature ever since I was introduced to him by the seemingly defunct blog with a cool name, The Quiet Trad. I think that the pictures alone can explain why. What I like most about Colby from a style perspective is his consistency. Similar to Moynihan (and why I like Moynihan as much as I do) is that he dressed in the Ivy League style during the boom, but unlike so many others he pretty much stuck to the look until the end which in this case was a mysterious death in 1996.
Colby Emblematic Tie

Colby 2Older William Colby
I was reminded of Colby this week by a book review of Cloak and Gown: Scholars in the Secret War, 1939-1961. The book review thread by Talk Ivy’s Armchaired is as good as its name, “Spy Ivy…….Yale,the OSS, the CIA and Anglophile Ivy Roots.,” and is a great follow up read. There is also a documentary available on Netfilx directed and narrated by his son, The Man Nobody Knew: In Search of My Father, CIA Spymaster William Colby.

Four to the Three Roll from RRL

Ivy Style’s recent post (See here) on the ivy-ish offerings currently available from everyone’s favorite uncle reminded me to write about the four-button jackets that I saw being sold at RRL. The first time that I saw a 4/3 roll jacket in an ivy setting it was being offered by York Street and I thought it looked odd (, but in all fairness many things at York Street look odd.). I mentioned it on Ivy Style only to later find out (from Ivy Style) that J.Press offered the 4/3 roll back in the 1950’s as pictured below.
Vintage jpress 4/3Just like the sport coats in the Ivy Style post these jackets are not pure Ivy either, but they are interesting. All of these jackets are inspired by the early 20th century which is no doubt why they have some ivyness in them. 2 of the 3 four-button sport coats currently on the site (there was a cord sport coat that I was interested in that is now gone) are dartless and the linen jacket (1st image) has quite the lapel roll. The downside is that some are very shaped, have ticket pockets, and are overall more English than ivy. The most interesting detail to note is the wider lapels.
RRL Four-Button WindowpaneThe most trad of the bunch is the plaid sport coat (below). Sporting 3 patch and two flap pockets this four-button sack is the definition of casual. Unfortunately, it is only available in alpha sizing, but it was designed as outerwear.
4button SCI was pleasantly surprised to see this type of tailored being offered by RRL. I have little experience with the brand. Previously I had only associated RRL with $1000 plus cardigans featuring Native American inspired designs. While they still carry plenty of the Southwestern influenced items knowing that they occasionally cross into areas of my interest I will be checking back with them from time to time.

All About That Bass

If you are a regular reader of Oxford Cloth Button Down I am sure that you are wondering why I am talking about Bass right now. You are probably thinking, “What happened to the Allen Edmonds Cavanaughs?” after my “There’s a new loafer in town” post.Vintage Bass Ad

Sadly the Allen Edmonds Cavanaugh Penny Loafers did not work out for me. It is not that I did not like them. They are a great looking shoe and I wanted to keep them, but they just didn’t fit (too narrow in the forefoot and too wide in the heel). After trying three different sizes I called it a day. It wasn’t meant to be (, but don’t worry I am still on the hunt for a nicer loafer).

This concession of defeat left me with an immediate void to fill. My current pairs of Weejuns are now well over 4 years old and as a result they are beginning to show their age. I needed to get another pair of loafers in the mix quickly. This loafer needs to fit, be versatile, and be available now. The only shoe that I knew that could count on is the Weejun.

I remember Billax commenting on the Cavanaugh post and saying that he will always have a pair of Weejuns in his closet. I have to say that I am in the same boat even though I know that the quality of shoe leaves a lot to desired. However, the near perfect design combined with the fact that they fit me like a glove allow me easily overlook all of their shortcomings. Until I find a higher quality loafer that fits me well I am still all about that bass.