I want to get a leather belt that is thinner than 1.25″. The reason why is that I have grown very accustomed to the thinner front of surcingle belts. I don’t want it to be a dress belt as I plan on wearing it with my 5-pocket cords. This search led me to Sid Mashburn. While looking at their selection of 1″ leather belts I noticed a belt (pictured above) that they referred to as a “polo” belt. I had never heard the term and thought nothing of until I saw a post on polo belts on Red Clay Soul.
I’ve been digging on the polo belts lately. I love the idea, as well as the culture from which the polo belts originate. Born in Argentina, they are typically leather belts with color-specific designs woven in to represent a team or a location. While they’ve been around forever, they were made popular, maybe even mainstream, by royalty:
Head over to Red Clay Soul for more examples of the polo belt, where to find them, and a few ideas on how to wear them. Read the full post here: Polo Belts by Red Clay Soul
Men are often left out in the cold when it comes to accessories, but the colder it gets the more we gain. As we add layers for the additional chill in the air we start with a sweater then add a coat next up comes the hat, gloves, and scarf combo. I will start with one of my favorite cold weather accessories the scarf.
When it comes to trad scarves there are essentially three choices. There are solid scarves, school boy scarves (think regimental stripes), and tartan scarves. I have at least one of each style, but I overwhelmingly favor tartan patterns. I have added a few pictures below of my growing tartan scarf collection.
If you are wondering where I got all these scarfs I will tell you. They were either gifts, purchased at deep discount, or found on the second market. Scarves make great gifts as sizing is relatively easy and one can never have too many. Also, like all shopping, it is a lot less expensive to purchase off-season or end of season. Last , but definitely not least the scarf is one of the few items that I suggest shopping for on the second hand market. Again, the one-size fits makes them easy to source. Just be to sure to drop it off at the dry cleaner before taking it home!
I haven’t had the chance to wear one of scarves yet, but I know that I will get the opportunity soon enough. Which means that this is the right time to start taking stock of your winter accessories so that you are prepared when the time comes. Don’t get caught out in the cold without one!
The leaves are turning, the temps are dropping, and you can order a pumpkin flavored anything. Fall is finally here and everyone is excited. For us trads, it is not so much the previous mentioned items as it is the return of layering, Shetland sweaters, and tweeds to mention a few. One item that I am especially excited for are foulard ties.
A Foulard (also called a neat) is a symmetrical pattern that consists of small-scale repeating shapes such as diamonds, dots, medallions, pines, and of course flowers. A foulard is technically a kind of light weight silk, but today the term is used interchangeably with neat.
Foulards are not strictly for fall/winter items. However, I find them to be a better fit for myself with a tweed than in the summer with a blazer and chinos. I do break them out if I am wearing grey wool trousers and blazer. If I had a chance to wear suits this would be another occasion to break out the foulards. Until then I will just enjoy them when the weather turn cool bringing out the tweeds and cords.
A Few More Foulard Ties
My main watch band was in need of some attention. I say main, because I have worn this band 99% of the time for the last 2 or 3 years. I say it needed attention, because not only was it starting to look dingy but it was also developing its own smell.
Luckily for me I remembered reading something somewhere on cleaning watch bands. The somewhere was a menswear forum and the advice was from Ask Andy Trad veteran’s Patrick and Ensiferous. These two suggested soaking watch bands overnight in water with a teaspoon of dishwasher detergent.
Last night I gave it a try. I purchased a small bottle of dishwasher detergent at the grocery for $3. I filled a small plastic container with hot water added a teaspoon of the detergent dissolving it before adding in my watchband. This morning I pulled it out of the container, rinsed under tap water, and let it try off.
My watch band is not good as new, but it looks and smells so much better! I thought that I may have to throw it away, but it has a lot of life left in it. This is good news to me and this band, but bad news for all of my other watch bands that were hoping to get some playing time.
My current work bag (pictured below) was a more or less a lucky find. It is made by Billy Kirk’s lower tier label Brothers Bray. I first saw it in a Urban Outfitters ad. I liked its drab colors and simple construction. Its utilitarian design spoke to me. Plus, it was right around $100. After 8 years of service my bag is now approaching retirement I am starting my search for a brand new bag.
I started my search at Filson. Filson sells the trad bag which is the Filson Original Briefcase (see below). I am sure that my bag’s similarities to this classic bag is what caught my eye in the first place. However, priced at $325 the Original Briefcase is not cheap.
Looking for more affordable options I spotted a few great looking alternatives at L.L. Bean. One of the bags is labeled as a tote and the other two briefcases, but I think that all of them would work well in our business casual world and would be a improvement over the backpack trend that I have been seeing over the last few years.
The L.L. Bean West Branch Tote ($159) – This bag is strikingly similar to my current bag. The only thing that it is missing is the olive green accents. Priced at $159 this is a good looking bag. It is high on my list. If I go this route I will probably switch out the brown shoulder strap for an olive one.
The L.L. Bean Heritage Waxed Messenger Bag ($149) – This bag is similar to my current bag, but is also noticeably different. It has the olive green accents that I like, but it lacks a leather bottom which in exchange gives it a more casual look and feel. Overall it is a great looking bag at a great price.
The Sportsman’s Briefcase ($119) – This bag is actually very similar to the Filson Original Briefcase. Albeit it is not as rugged the Filson, but to its advantage it has a great 80’s Original Preppy Handbook vibe. On top of that it is probably the most professional looking of the bags that I have listed, but I could see it being confused as suitcase.
I hope this list helps out all of my fellow office dwellers. With the need to carry laptops, tablets, smart phones, and an assortment of other work supplies a bag is a necessity of the modern professional. These bags will make your day-to-day life easier while still retaining some semblance of trad style.