Archive for March, 2019

Camp Mocs for Summer

Boat shoes may be the casual footwear of choice for most of the trad world, but I myself like camp mocs. I mentioned last week that I had some camp moc ideas and I do. In fact, I was this close (imagine that you can see my gesture) to pulling the trigger.

I didn’t pull the trigger on the Rancourt Gilman Camp-moc in unlined natural Horween Chromoexcel (see here). The ones with red clay soul. The ones in the image directly above. Now in my eyes that is one good looking camp moc. The problem I am having is spending $250 on a pair of shoes that I am only going to wear casually without socks. I also have hard to fit feet and these are MTO so you can only return for fit or store credit if they don”t workout. Not the easiest sell.

While the Rancourt mocs are not totally out of the picture I have another camp moc project in motion. Some of you may recall that I have a pair of LL Bean Signature camp mocs (on left foot below). They never fit quite right. I had to wear them with thick socks or they slipped. If I wore them without socks they rubbed my ankle raw. They did look good though.

Bean Mocs

I did what I always do in these situations. I tossed them in the washer on hot. I am hoping to shrink them up a bit so that they fit a little more snug and don’t rub my ankle raw. I will try to get a few wears in the coming weeks to gauge the results. If not, Rancourt here I come!

Spring & Summer 2019

I am working on my spring and summer look for 2019. That entails looking for any gaps in my wardrobe, thinking about items that need to be replaced, and trying to recall combinations that I liked from last year. Basically you need to identify a few central items to build around and making sure that you have the supporting cast in place. I haven’t finished doing all of that but I have made a few purchases.

First up is a cotton tennis sweater from JCrew. These can come off costumey so you have to be careful and confident as well. I have had a tennis sweater before. I remember that it was easier to dress it down than to dress it up. I liked wearing it with athletic shorts when running errands. I’ll use this sweater like a sweatshirt. I like it over the grey t-shirt as pictured below. I’ll try it over a polo shirt as well. A little preppier than my usual trad self, but hey I am off duty. If you get a cricket sweater remember to wear it and not let it wear you.

Also from J.Crew are a pair of paisley shorts (here). Let me get the downside out of the way. They don’t accommodate a belt and have a draw string closure. They are expensive at $80, but we all know paying full price for J.Crew is foolish. I got these on sale. I loved the muted paisley and who doesn’t need cool slumming clothes. Again, that paisley.

Next up are a pair of rugby shirts that I scored from Columbia knit. The rugby with the flags of the world just had that vibe that I wanted. My father was not trad, but this reminds of the types of shirts that he wore in the 1980s. It fit in well with my current direction when it comes to casual looks. I was disappointed that the flags are kind of ironed on, but it makes sense for $36. It fit on the smaller side of true to size.

The other rugby that I picked up is a classic hoop stripe in royal blue and white. I have a blue and white hooded rugby from Barbarian that I have learned how to effectively use. I will use everything that I learned there to get good use out of this rugby. I have worn it a few times and the bright blue has a nice pop to it. It fit on the bigger side of true to size which I like in a rugby for layering. It is also heavier than the flag rugby but not as a heavy as my Barbarian Rugby shirts.

You can’t have warm weather and not have sneakers. I am sure lots of you may disagree, but as a guy that walks a lot and plays outdoors a lot sneakers are a necessity. Were the 1979 Nike Tailwinds a necessity? No, but they look super cool. If you are interested in a pair they run half size small.

Well there you have it. These are my latest, but not the last pick ups for spring & summer 2019. I have a couple of purchases that I still need to make. Ones that I think will be of interest here. Such as new camp mocs and chambray shirts. Stay tuned for more.

J.Crew Cotton Cricket Sweater

Is this a 3/2 Roll or a 3-Button?

This week I want to share one of the better pieces of trad info that I picked up on the internet somewhere. This tip helps you determine whether or not a jacket is a 3/2 roll or a standard 3-button jacket.

Finished Buttonhole

The devil is in the details. The details here are the buttonholes. On a lot of 3/2 roll jackets the buttonhole will be finished on the backside of the button. The reason being is that because of the roll it is the back of the buttonhole that will actually be visible. So if you look at all three buttons the top button will not be finished (or not finished as nicely) on the same side (the front) as the other two. The exception is where the buttons have been finished the same on both sides.

As you can see the back of the buttonhole is not finished as nicely

If you are ever out thrifting and find yourself facing this question give the button trick a try. My only other advice is that if it’s not rolling that it probably won’t. If you are wondering if it is an orphan suit jacket look for buttons that contrast (most suits buttons match the color of the suit) and casual details like swelled edges and patch pockets. That’s all I got. Good luck out there!

Money Well Spent

I am in the process of trying to find a pair of jeans that I like and in that struggle I found a belt that I had forgot about. It’s a simple leather belt that I had made 10 plus years ago in the middle of a mall.

I had this belt made before I started to a work for an insurance company. I wanted a simple leather belt. I was struggling to find one that I liked and that fit me. Then I remembered this kiosk in the middle of the mall where I had purchased a few belt buckles. You know the kind of place. Ran by a mountain looking man in leather. He sold buckles of all kind large and small, NASCAR leather jackets, leather goods, maybe knives, and now important to me leather belts.

I wish I remembered the man’s name, but I don’t. The mall is still there, but empty. I do remember him saying that he had a small place on Mackinaw island that he ran in the summer. He did the kiosk off-season. The short of it is that he was a great guy and could help me out. When we started to talk about the belt he guided me to a few hundred leather straps to look through. I picked my buckle and leather. He then measured me, asked me about width, and told me to come back the next day. I did and it was perfect. He made and sold this belt for around $20. It was money well spent.

There are still places where you can get belts made. For example,
Narragansett Leathers is still around offering moderately priced leather goods. I am sure there are others out there as as well along with people making other stuff like shirts and moccasins. Enjoy it while it is here and get while the getting is good.

Trad Shorts

Spring is right around the corner and while it is hard to imagine today you will be reaching for a pair of shorts before you know it. If you are anything like me you have already started to assess your spring clothing needs. If this list contains a pair of shorts I wanted to be sure to get this post out in time for it to be helpful.

When it comes to shorts the leg opening is key. Of course I learned this the hard way. I have a few pair of shorts, but I kept leaning towards one pair even though they were a bit big in the waist. I even liked them better than a pair of old work chinos that I modified into shorts. I was at a loss as to why.

Polo in Casual Setting

It didn’t hit until I was at the mall trying on pair after pair of shorts. I remember putting on a pair and thinking, I hate the way that these fit. Why are the legs so narrow? Boom. I had figured it out.

Not only did I dislike the silhouette of the skinny shorts, but they weren’t comfortable either. If I am going to be slumming around in shorts I at least want them to comfortable and for them to help keep me cool. This is exactly what my wider legged shorts accomplished. Oh, and I think that they look better too.

When it comes to finding these shorts don’t over complicate it. While I like J.Crew 1040 chinos I stay away from their short offerings for this very reason. My favorite pair of shorts are from Chaps, I also picked up a pair of Ralph Lauren shorts at TJ Maxx for cheap, and my Patagonia shorts work out just fine.