Archive for May, 2017

Memorial Day = Madras

Who doesn’t love Memorial Day? It has all of the ingredients that trads love. It’s a patriotic holiday that gives us the chance to spend time with family & friends, breakout the grill, and remember all of those who have died while serving in our military. It also marks the official foray into Madras season.
madrasI will be spending my weekend on my porch. I am running a little late this year due to cool temps and my porch is pretty bare. I don’t vacation too often so I do my best to create my own tropical island. I will spend hours out there reading, lounging, and napping, but first I will spend hours cleaning, planning, and planting.
K-SWISS-REVIVES-THE-OG-SURF-N-TURF4-700x957I will also be taking stock of my summer gear this weekend. I have already noticed that I need a new white polo. I am also thinking of grabbing a forest green polo to mix it up. White canvas sneakers are a perennial favorite and I saw that K-Swiss has brought back their Surf-n-Turf which I will call the Tretorn of my generation. I might have to give these a go. With sales galore this is a good time to make those summer moves!

I hope that you all have a great Memorial Day weekend. Now get out there and enjoy it!

J.Crew Does Chore Ivy?

I received J.Crew’s June catalog this week and it contained a bit of Ivy or workwear… or both. If you are confused by that statement don’t be concerned as you are not alone. From the catalog,

Our new unstructured blazer comes with a bit of workwear cool, combining the refinement of suiting with a design inspired by vintage chore jackets.
The item in question is an unstructured 3-button triple-patch pocket sack cut sport coat with dual vents and no lining (see it here). As soon as I saw this jacket I was trying to figure it out. “Are there darts? I don’t see any, but it there could be one closer to lapel like a chore coat. Is that a 3/2? No, it looks like a true 3-button stance. What’s the vent like? Dual. Interesting. Any lining? Not sure, but I can’t tell.”

Now let me go on to say that I like this jacket. It’s hard to find affordable ($168) natural shouldered sport coats with 3-patch pockets especially ones that are not alpha sized. It is also unstructured which I think is a great direction as it makes sport coats less formal and a little more casual cool. Maybe that will help keep the young guys interested in the look.

There are a few downsides to the jacket. Unstructured jackets are definitely cool (like a Keydge), but they way that they can pull around the front of the shoulder is not. Also, it does not appear to have lining which may keep you cool, but it makes putting on and taking off a jacket a lot more work. Last is the 3-button stance. It will work for some, but not others. It would probably look better on a taller person than a shorter one. It may ending up rolling. It may not.

So there you have it. If you can get over the 3-button stance, narrow lapels, and dual vents there is pretty sack sport coat J.Crew for under $200. It may not work for everyone, but if it works for you it is a pretty good deal. To me it feels like one of those items that everyone kicks themselves for picking up at the time ala PRL Rugby.

Mother’s Day with Muffy

Happy Mother’s day to all you moms out there. If you your sons are reading this blog you have done a great job! All joking aside, I will speak for everyone and say that we appreciate you all more than you will ever know. That is especially true for my own mom!
Mummy Knows BestIf you won’t be able to spend time with your mom (call her!!!) this Mother’s day you might peruse the pages of Salt Water New England for some preppy mom time.

For My Trads on a Budget

When I went full on Trad it was a pretty affordable style. Outside of the 3/2 sack blazer, sport coat, and suit you could find the essentials with all of the desired details moderately priced everywhere from Lands End to L.L. BeanĀ  to J.Crew and beyond. Even Brooks Brothers OCBD, the gold standard of OCBDs was $50 cheaper only 2 years ago and even cheaper than that on discount. However, with the proliferation of non-iron clothing, shrinking collars, and skin-tight fits has made finding the essentials with the correct details at a moderate price difficult if not impossible.

I wanted to offer my help to Trads on a budget by putting together a small list of more affordable essential pieces. While these offerings may have some shortcomings such as non-iron finishes and smaller collars they can still help to create the look and can serve as an gateway to higher priced items. I have started with the OCBD, chinos, and penny loafers.
The Perfect Chinos

There is no better place to start than the OCBD. The blue OCBD is the classic piece of trad wear that is most well known for helping to create the ever desirable collar roll (read more about collar roll here). Collar roll will be the hardest thing to get in an OCBD for under $100. Even of the OCBDs that I posted below I am hesitant to suggest that you may be able to achieve a nice collar roll. I have heard others say that it is possible from the L.L. Bean and the Stafford oxford. I know from experience the current Lands End OCBD will not produce a great roll, but it does not have a no-iron finish like the other 2. However, most people don’t need to wear ties which so wearing one of the OCBDs is not a big deal and even if you do wear a tie they will work until you can save up (or find thriting) one that does.

L.L. Bean OCBD – $44.95

JCPenney Stafford OCBD – $40 (on sale for $19.99)

Lands End Hyde Park OCBD – $49.95
The Ivy Look Slim ChinosChinos
I don’t have any specific recommendations here. What I suggest that you look for are chinos that are not no-iron, are not pleated (flat-front), and either have a cuff or have enough material to be cuffed. The reason that I suggest the above is that the casual looking chino is very much apart of the Ivy League and trad look. Chinos with a no-iron finish can often look shiny or dressy which does work as well it appears too polished. Don’t worry though with a good pressing your must-iron chinos will look great with a blazer or tweed. I wear J.Crew 1040 Essential chinos, but you can find other like them at the Gap, Old Navy, and even Lands’ End (their non-iron chinos aren’t too shiny). Most important is that your chinos fit and are not puddled up at your shoe and stuck at your shin.
Penny Loafer in PrintPenny Loafer
This is the easiest category for me to make suggestions. I narrowed it down to 2. First, is the Bass Outlet. You can even access this online. Bass penny loafers have a great shape so much so that I wear them to this day. They are also very light which works well for my feet. On the downside they are not made up of the best materials. My second suggestion is to occasionally scour Allen Edmond’s Shoe Bank website. This where they sell their seconds and discontinued items. There are often great deals to be had.

Bass Outlet Penny Loafers – $79-89

Allen Edmonds Shoe Bank

This post should be read in conjunction with last week’s post on fit, proportion, and silhouette. Together these posts will help those on a budget put together a very trad looking thread without maxing out their credit cards. I thought this was an important subject to cover as one of the reasons that favored this style of dress was its availability and affordability. Some of that has changed over time, but my recommendation of the style has not. If you have any affordable items that you would like to suggest please do as I know many readers are eager to hear and learn from you all!