Archive for March, 2023

L.L. Bean Boat & Tote Souvenir Bag

I mentioned in my life update post that I have been doing more travelling since I met my wife. I am actually headed out of town tomorrow which prompted this post. As a kid I didn’t really go for souvenirs. I would’ve rather put that money towards new sneakers, but as an adult I am all in. I started picking up patches on our trips with the goal of creating a souvenir something (jacket or bag) in the future. Well the future is here and so is my cool souvenir bag.

At first I wasn’t sure if I was going to make a souvenir styled jacket or a bag. I went with a bag because I thought that I would get more use out of it. I actually picked up this L.L.Bean Boat and Tote at the L.L.Bean Flagship store in Maine while visiting my sister. So it’s kind of a double souvenir bag.

If you are interested in creating something like this I do have a few tips. The first is that if you don’t see a patch you like or any patches at all don’t worry. The internet is your friend. I picked up quite a few of my patches on Ebay and Etsy either while still travelling or after I got back. I typically buy a patch for each state (or country) and then one that’s more specific to what we did there. For example, I have both a Utah patch and a Zion National Park patch.

The second tip is about placement. Before you start ironing or sewing them on do a dry run. By that I mean arrange them a few different ways. I took pictures of several different layouts before selecting what I thought looked the best. I then provided the pictures to my mom (S/O to my mom!) who did a bang up job executing.

I love my souvenir bag. I look at the patches and start thinking about all the good adventures that we have had like my first visit to a rain forest in Puerto Rico, Climbing Mt. Lafayette, or cycling through the country side in Costa Rica. It also gets me excited for all of our future adventures. I’ve included pics of all my patches below. See you all in 2 weeks!

LL Bean Boat & tote Souvenir Bag

Souvenir Bag

My Top 3 thrifts

I used to thrift a lot back in the day. Back then I had more time than money. Fast forward to now and I have very little of either (insert laugh track), but seriously I have started to dabble in thrifting again. This time around it’s just for fun rather than out of necessity. To pump myself up for future thrifts I decided to revisit my top 3 thrift scores. I will also give a few tips that I have learned along the way.

Basket weave Tweed Sport Coat

1. The perfect tweed jacket – If you know anything about me you know that it’s hard for me to find my size in jackets. The best otr reference I have is that a 37S Brooks Brothers Madison jacket fits me pretty well. That’s not a common size btw. About 10 years ago I was headed to an out of town meeting. I left myself plenty of time to stop in a Goodwill not far from where I was headed (Tip #1). After arriving I scanned the sport coat rack looking for jackets with 2-buttons on the cuff (Tip #2). This is not a fail-proof method for finding trad sport coats, but it helps when you want to quickly scan a lot of inventory. I sued this method and found this basket weave Donegal tweed sport coat complete with all the right details (3/2 roll, swelled edges, patch pockets) that fit! It’s still my favorite sport coat to this day.

Kelly Green G9

2. Baracuta G9 jacket – The G9 is a trad’s perfect spring and late summer/early fall jacket. Made cool by the king of cool himself, Steve McQueen. Even if I don’t find Mr. McQueen all that cool myself I do love a harrington jacket. It was back in 2010 that I found a kelly green Baracuta for $1.99 on a typical Saturday morning thrift run. The jacket is from one of the less desirable periods in the 80s when they were made in Hong Kong by Van Heusen instead of being made in England. Nevertheless I was excited. I still get a lot of wear out of this jacket.

3. Ties, ties, & more ties – Ties are the most thriftable item in menswear. This is because outside of width we all wear the same size (Tip #3). I have scored the bulk of my ties this way. However, one particular tie haul stands out from all the rest. I stopped in one of my regular thrift spots and scored a few great ties. Whomever they belonged to had great taste as these were exactly the types of stripes that I would pick. They were also from a few local-ish menswear shop which I thought was extra cool. I went back the next day (Tip #4) in hopes that they may have put out more of this man’s ties and I was not disappointed.

Scores like the ones listed above will keep you going back for more. If you want to be successful going back is the most important part. Like most things in life consistency is key. Thrifting is no different. This time around I am simply out to enjoy the hunt and not the kill. I have no pie in the sky dreams or grails that I am seeking out. Just some good clean affordable fun. Good luck out there!

Gym Shorts & Polo Shirts

Earlier this week I wrote about the best polo shirt in 2023. With warm weather approaching it’s almost time for one of my favorite ways to wear a polo shirt. If you read the title I am sure you can guess what that is. I hear your objections, I really do. Just hear me out. The combination of gym shorts and polo shirts may sound odd on its face, but it works.

When do I deploy these outfits? I wear them in the most casual settings. For example, I might throw on a polo shirt with my gym shorts or Patagonia baggies to head down to the farmers market, out to get a cup of coffee, or simply hanging out at the house. I am sure that you have seen people out walking their dog in something similar. That’s probably wear I saw it first and it was not being worn by a millennial or whomever many want to blame athleisure on, but someone just outside of middle age.

While many in the the trad/ivy space eschew athleisure I embrace it. I am not going to go on and on about it (I will do that later). Instead, I will leave you with a few examples and a little guidance. A good rule of thumb is that this combo works when a large portion of the people will be in lounge clothes. If you want to dress it up a bit just add camp mocs, blucher mocs or boat shoes. An OCBD as outerwear is always a good option if you need an additional layer. There you go, have at it.

Polo Shirt & Patagonia Baggies
Polo Shirt & Gym Shorts
White Polo Shirt & Purple Patagonia Baggies

The Best Polo Shirt in 2023

I’d like to tell you that this post is a deep dive into all the potential polo shirts that can be had in 2023, but it’s not. I should probably change the title to, my go to polo shirt in 2023. A even more accurate title might be, my go to polo shirt. Don’t be too disheartened they are great shirts. Now let me tell you a little about them.

What I look for in a polo shirt is pretty straight forward. It needs to be all cotton. It should have more than 1 button, but less than 3. That means 2 buttons is the right number (and don’t button them both). It should also be available in the standard colors, available in general, and not cost an arm and a leg. It sounds simple, but that’s a tall order in 2023.

The Lands’ End mesh polo shirt meets all the criteria above (see here). First and foremost, it’s all cotton which alone is amazing in this day and age. The mesh cotton weave may not be as breathable as tech fabric, but I find it far more comfortable and far better looking. It has the perfect number of buttons which we have established is 2. It comes in all the right colors including the triad of trad (Shout-out to RWK!) which is navy, forest green, & burgundy. Perhaps best of all is that it is available season after season at a reasonable price of $26.95 plus LE always sales.

I’ve been wearing these polos for at least the past 7 years. You can dress them up or treat them like t-shirts. I do both. They work either way. My favorite color is the forest green, followed by white, and then the not as trad purple. The purple feels very Ralph Lauren-ish, in a good way. I find the navy to be too close to black for my taste. I like the burgundy but only in long sleeve format. With that being said, don’t sleep on the long sleeve version of these polos either as they are perfect for cooler weather (see here). It’s nice to see that there are still some affordable options for the basics that don’t require a lot of compromise. My suggestion is to get them while the getting’s good.

My Current Stance

Since I’ve been away for a while I figured that I’d share a few of my current takes on clothes. Like the rest of the world I have relaxed a bit over the last 3 years which is probably just a face saving way to say that I’ve dropped my standards, flip-flopped on opinions, and so on. I’m only half joking, but with WFH, a baby, and the new normal it makes sense that I am more casual in my approach to clothes. In other instances I’ve kept my not so trad looks off the blog. This go around I am going to try a more holistic approach.

  • Untucked shirts: I used to, then I didn’t, and now I do again…but not all the time. Untucked shirts can look good. They can look bad. It’s all about proportion and silhouette. FYI, It’s easier to pull off with shorts than pants.

  • I like short-sleeve madras popovers. I don’t like popover OCBDs on myself. I think they make me look like I’m in old timey pajamas. I don’t love short-sleeve button-front shirts. Something about them feels very boy-ish. See the first sentence.
JPress Madras Popover

  • Camp mocs/Blucher mocs are my new penny loafers. As I have mentioned I am not in an office setting any longer. Penny loafers now feel just a little too formal most days. I still wear them, but day-to-day I wear my blucher mocs when it’s cold and camp mocs when it’s not. When I am indoors in my office it’s moccasins. There are no shoes in the house.
Camp Mocs & Blazer

  • Sneakers are my new camp mocs. The sneakers are either a made in USA grey New Balance 990 series (very trad in my book) or a 80s/90s retro runner. There are a couple reasons why I sneaker more these days. The first is that I walk a lot. I live in a walking neighborhood (I rarely drive) so between between after-dinner walks, stroller walks, trips to the grocery, or meandering down to the park I easily put in 2-5 miles on a weekday and double that on the weekend. The second reason is that I like sneakers. It’s just that simple.

  • It’s ok to wear a t-shirt. Say it with me, it’s ok to wear a t-shirt. You are smart people you can figure it out when they are appropriate. Don’t wear one out to a nice restaurant, but maybe do wear one to the park.

  • Don’t worry, I still like the hardcore trad look.