All posts in Lifestyle

Spoiling a Good Walk

Fairway

I am excited to see temperatures finally breaking into the 60’s. I am especially excited, because I began going to the driving range with my stepdad at the end of last summer and I am eager to pick up where I left off. Unfortunately, where I left off was trying to consistently make contact with the ball using my driver. However, learning has been just as fun as it has been frustrating.
Chick Evans 1916 AmateurChick Evans                                                               Charles “Chick” Evans (Above)

I have already been to the driving range a handful of times over the last two months. Just like life, some days have been really good and others have been just plain awful. I plan on getting out on an actual course before too long which of course got me thinking about what I will wear.
bobby jones                                                                                    Bobby Jones
Jim Barnes                                                                                     Jim Barnes

I did a few searches on the internet for golf apparel. Like all sports it appears that golf clothing too is now primarily composed of synthetic technical fabrics. This lead me to the conclusion that all I really need is a pair of golf shoes. I think that my old chinos, OCBD’s, and polos will more than suffice. Plus, I have plenty of sweaters for the brisk mornings.

I spent the rest of my time on the internet looking at vintage pictures of golf which got me even more excited for warm weather and time spent outdoors. I wish everyone the best of luck on the course this year!

Weejun Repair Part Two

Brown Weejuns

It was time to get new soles for my brown Weejuns. Well, not just soles, the heels are wearing down, too. Basically, they need an overhaul. The last time (and my first time) that I took a pair of loafers in for new soles I walked away from the situation a little disappointed. I planned on changing that this time around.

Before I start discussing my experience I am sure that many of you are wondering why am I spending money to repair a pair of Weejuns?  After all Weejuns are generally considered to be throw away shoes by anyone who has any experience with quality shoes. My reasoning is actually quite simple. They fit well and they are comfortable. These are two attributes that should never be overlooked.

New Weejun Sole

Weejuns-with-New-SolesNewly repaired Weejuns on the top. Previously repaired Weejuns with half-soles on the bottom.

Armed with the knowledge that I gained from my previous experience I headed to the cobbler. This time I went to a different cobbler that I had heard good things about even though the shop was 30 minutes away. It’s not that the previous cobbler did a bad job, but I wanted to see if there was a difference in the experience and quality of work.

When I showed them my shoes the first thing the man said was, “Well, we have a few options.” This was music to my ears. He presented both the full sole and half-sole options and explained the benefits of each. This is exactly what I felt that my previous experience lacked; the advice of an expert.
Brown Weejun Comparison PicWeejun Comparison Burgundy 2I went with the full sole and heel replacement. I was not disappointed. The shoes were returned to me looking brand new unlike the prior half-sole replacement. You can see this in the image above. The newly repaired Weejuns are on top and the previously half-soled Weejuns below.

The biggest difference is that the sole of this loafer did not gain bulk like the ones that received half-soles (see above). Also, because the entire sole was replaced there are no remains of the previously cracked sole (see below) like there is on my other pair. The full sole repair cost an extra $15 (a total of $60), which was well worth it in my opinion. However, I have a feeling that having a half-sole repair done here may yield better results than those done by the other repair shop.

Cracked Sole

One of the main goals of this blog is for me to make mistakes which will hopefully save the reader from having to make the same mistakes. Now I know that many of the readers of this blog possess a level of knowledge about clothing that I may never attain, but I am sure that many readers like me are still learning the ropes. My hope is that posts like this help to speed up the learning curve.

Zachary Deluca the Man Behind Newton Street Vintage and More

Zach DeLuca

Zach Deluca the owner/operator of the Newton Street Vintage the coolest mid-century clothing shop around and recently announced Assistant Editor at Ivy Style was just interviewed over at Keikari. Among other things, Zach touches on how his desire to look like his rock ‘n’ roll heroes got him into clothes.

“Somewhere out there is a photo of me at 18, imitating young Bob Dylan imitating old Woody Guthrie. I was into jeans at first. Vintage Levis. I went nuts for them. I remember seeing in the liner notes to the Bruce Springsteen Live 1975 box set that Bruce had an orange tab on his Levis, and it started a relentless hunt for that orange tab that opened up the world of vintage.”
Interview_with_Zachary_Deluca_from_Newton_Street_Vintage_at_Keikari_dot_com (1)
One of my favorite parts of the interview is when he compares learning about clothing to learning about cooking.

“You learn about clothes by handling clothes in the same way that you learn about cooking by working with food. Years ago I was also desperate to learn how to sew and construct, so I paid a local tailor/patternmaker for private lessons. She was great and really helped me get a firm foundation in construction methods.”
960s Brown Olive Houndstooth Tweed
He goes on to talk more about his Etsy shop, the opportunities it has created, and his philosophy on style. Do yourself a favor and check out the full read over at Keikari (here) among the other great articles offered on the site. Also, be sure to watch for his pieces over at Ivy Style, and take a look at his Tumblr The Suit Room. Zach definitely knows his stuff and we are lucky to have him offering up his awesome vintage finds at Newton Street.

Sport Coat, Sweater, No Tie

Sport Coat, Sweater, and No Tie

I saw the picture below on the Heavy Tweed Jacket blog and it inspired me to give the sport coat, sweater, and no tie look a try. In general I am not a fan of wearing a jacket of any sort without a tie, but this picture convinced me otherwise. There is a timeless quality and an informal sophistication about it that made me think this look was worth exploring.
Inspiration Pic #2One of the problems with wearing a sport over a sweater is that it requires a roomier sport coat to properly fit. Luckily for me, I had acquired a grey herringbone Brooks Brothers jacket that was a touch to big. Not quite big enough to get rid of, but big enough that it spent more time in the back of my closet than being worn.

I tried the combination on two separate occasions. On my first attempt I paired the jacket with a grey cable knit sweater from Brooks Brothers and a blue OCBD. Even though the colors were similar in shade I thought that the herringbone and cable patterns would provide enough contrast to make it work. In my opinion, it was a success.
Grey Sweater and Grey Sport CoatCable Sweater and Herringbone JacketOn my second attempt I tried to add a little color. This time I paired the jacket with a burgundy Rugby sweater (I should have bought more of these when they went belly up.) and a blue university striped OCBD. I personally like this combination the best, but that’s not surprising considering that I love university stripes and burgundy sweaters.
Sweater and Sport CoatRugby Sweater and Sport Coat

I found the sport coat, sweater, and no tie combination to be a winner. I think that it can be an especially useful look if you work in an environment where ties are unwelcome, or if you are attending an event that is casual (especially if it is outdoors), but you want to make use of a sport coat. In these situations, the sport coat can truly serve as a piece of outerwear replacing the need for a coat. You can also remove the sport coat when indoors as you would a coat to reinforce its casual nature. This is a look at that I can see myself putting to good use as winter fades, but the warmth of spring still lies ahead.

 

The Socioeconomics of Prep

Witt

I have been removed from the academic environment for quite a few years now, but I still enjoy reading a scholarly article especially when it deals with something that I am deeply interested in. I was recently directed to a an Honors thesis by a Senior in Cornell’s College of Human Ecology for Fiber Sciences and Apparel Design entitled, “The Origin and Evolution of “Prep” and its Socioeconomic Relevance.” Naturally, I was intrigued.
Origins of PrepThe title makes the intent of the article clear, but here is an expanded explanation:

“Thus, the aim of this paper is twofold. First, I seek to clarify and substantiate the origins of prep style, its relationship with American collegiate culture and the national class structure, and its evolution as a fashion subculture.”

And,

“Next, I strive to attain a clear understanding of the cultural and socioeconomic significance of preppy fashion at that time in history, its function as an essential arbiter of class for the American aristocracy.”

Origins of Prep 2The paper was an interesting read and one of the most comprehensive texts that I have read on the subject. However, one area that I think is overlooked in the paper is the co-opting of the preppy look by mainstream America that occurred prior to the 1980’s. The author states that,

“This gradual growth in the popularity of the preppy look was later punctuated in the 1980s with a boom of commercialization and public infatuation with this style.”

But there was a similar boom of commercialization that occurred in the 1960’s which created a generation of people from middle class origins that adopted this look which influenced later generations as well as the dress code of corporate America.

Although this co-opted look is a watered down version of what was termed “Ivy League Style” it can still be considered “Preppy.”  I only interject, because I believe that this earlier boom removed a lot of the socioeconomic status that was previously associated with this look by making it readily available to those of average means.

Origins of Prep 3Nonetheless, this is an excellent piece and I encourage everyone to read the full text (You can find it here: http://ecommons.library.cornell.edu/handle/1813/33212) For those of you who are not interested in reading the dense 55 page text I will cut to the chase for you. The author concludes that,

““Preppy” continues to possess a sense of cultural capital that provides implications relating to the lifestyles, attitudes, and aspirations of individuals who choose to don this look.”

I will let the reader evaluate the validity of this conclusion for themselves. However, I applaud the author for taking on this topic and doing such a thorough job at it. A great follow-up read is Christian Chensvold’s The Rise and Fall of the Ivy League Look.