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.
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.
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.
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.
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.