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The Patchwork Repp Tie

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We are all familiar with patchwork ties, sport coats, trousers, and shirts that are made up of Madras and even though it is not as common we have all seen patchwork items made from tweed and tartans as well. There is another patchwork item that I have only seen a handful of times.

The first time that I saw a patchwork Repp tie (pictured below) it took me a few moments to figure out what it was that I was looking at. It was difficult to recognize the striped Repp ties when the stripes were arranged in random patchwork fashion. Once I was able to make out what I was looking at I was intrigued.
Patchwork Repp Tie YRR

Fast forward to last week when I spotted a patchwork Repp tie over at Polo Ralph Lauren (see here). Uncle Ralph’s patchwork Repp tie is not strictly made of striped ties. It also includes a few pieces of an emblematic tie. The tie is a bit slim, but it is still wearable at 3” (I find 3.25” perfect for myself). It is also a bit expensive. This patchwork tie sports a price tag of $165.
PRL Patchwork Repp Tie  2014

I know that patchwork items are not for everyone. They fall into the category of clothing coined by Tom Wolfe in his 1976 article for Esquire entitled “Mauve Gloves & Madmen, Clutter & Vine,” as “go to hell” or simply GTH. GTH clothing can be polarizing and this tie is no different, but when I saw a version being offered up by Polo Ralph Lauren this season I thought that it was well worth discussing. Now comes the question, would you wear it?

Another Menswear Shop Closes: Roger Stevens

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A few weeks ago veteran Ask Andy Trad member CMDC posted about another independent menswear shop closing its doors. I have been doing some research on various menswear shops of the past so his post really resonated with me. I followed up with CMDC about this post and he was kind enough to provide a write for us about his.

Roger Stevens is located in the lobby of the Pfister Hotel in downtown Milwaukee. The Pfister is Milwaukee’s finest hotel and is one of those old, historic, elegant gems that each major city has but that aren’t being built anymore. When I was an undergrad in Milwaukee during the early ’90s, I had neither the sensibility nor the cash to shop there. So, I never visited the store in its heyday. Milwaukee is, as most would guess, a very blue collar town so I’ve never associated it with fine dressing although there obviously is a clientele that has kept the store doing well over the years. The patrons of the Pfister have also been a key element of the store’s success.
Roger Stevens Store Front

I get back to Milwaukee a couple of times per year and, as I’ve become more dedicated to dressing well, I’ve always intended to stop in. With the announcement of the store’s impending closing–and the significant markdowns–I made it a point to visit when I was in Milwaukee a few weeks back. Roger Stevens is–and clearly was–the type of store we clothing enthusiasts wish was still the standard. Even though their stock has been getting cleared out and everything was 50% off, the staff approached me and the other customers in the store as if it was business as usual. To give a sense of their offerings, the main brands were Samuelsohn, Southwick, Bills, Seaward and Stearn, Gitman Bros, and Zanella. They used to offer Allen Edmonds as well, which one would expect. So, mostly TNSIL favorites with a tiny smattering of the more fashion forward.
Roger Stevens StoreRoger Stevens TiesWhile there was much to tempt me, I didn’t want to totally break the bank. In the end, there was a Southwick 3/2 sack tweed sportcoat that I simply couldn’t leave behind. The price was very good and I’m always a sucker for bold tweed patterns. I rounded out my purchase with a really nice Ancient Madder tie. I had a really nice conversation with the saleswoman who helped me about the store, its closing, and the Milwaukee menswear scene. The honest truth is that there’s not much left in Milwaukee, especially downtown. There is a Brooks Brothers at one of the suburban malls as well as Harley’s on Milwaukee’s east side which offers a much more fashion forward, heavily Italian, line.
Made for Roger StevensSo, another fine menswear store is no more. While Roger Stevens’ closing isn’t attributable to the rise of business casual or the economic downturn, it is gone nonetheless. I really wish I had been able to make more than one visit. You can read more about Roger Stevens and its closing here: Menswear store Roger Stevens closing after 37 years

Long Live Heavy Tweed Jacket

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It has been a long week. I am sure that I am not the only one feeling worn down from the work week and that many of you can relate. However, I am sure that many of you are wondering, “What does this mean to me?” It means that I slacked off this week and do not have anything truly new to share, but what I do have is some classic material to pass along.

I am sure that most of you are familiar with the other blogs that fill the traditional American clothing niche such as Ivy Style, The Daily Prep, MaxminimusThe Weejun, The Trad , and a few others. However, there is one blog that in my opinion stands head and shoulders above the rest and that is Heavy Tweed Jacket (better known as HTJ).HTJ Featured

HTJ has a wealth knowledge about all things trad and writes about it at a depth that is unrivaled in the blogosphere. Not only can he school you on the evolution of the Brooks Brothers OCBD, but he can also delve into the finer the points of what makes for a good Grateful Dead set. There is one hitch to his blog. He frequently abandons it only to return months (or years) later.

Currently HTJ is retired again and his blog is nowhere to found on the internet (and we teach kids that the internet is forever!). Will he pop again and leave me looking foolish for posting about his absence? If I were a gambling man I would say yes, but this won’t stop me.

For your reading pleasure here is a link to an RSS feed for Heavy Tweed Jacket. This link does not provide access to the entire HTJ archive (it contains about two years worth of posts), but hopefully it will be accompanied by a long drink and provide a little well deserved R&R to all of my readers who are still recovering from their week at work like me.

If anyone has a copy of the full website or other RSS feeds I would be grateful if you would send them to me. I would love to have a complete archive of the site. I hope to see HTJ return in the near future, but if not at least I have this link…for now. The most important lesson to learn from this post is that nothing lasts forever. Not even the internet.

Sweater Check 1, 2

Salmon Spirit of Shetland Sweater

 

Summer isn’t even over and I have already dipped into my cedar chest for a Shetland. While I was fishing out my Shetland I decided to take inventory before I let the season get ahead of me (as it almost always does). I generally purchase one new sweater each fall and I knew that I needed to get a better sense of where the holes are in my collection before placing an order. Below are pictures of my current lineup.
Salmon Spirit of Shetland
Burgundy Shaggy SweaterGreen Shaggy Shetland
Light Blue Brooks Brother Shetland SweaterLight Grey J.Crew Lambswool sweaterNavy Lambswool SweaterNavy Shawl Collar SweaterOatmeal Shetland Sweater
Light Grey J.Crew Lambswool sweaterCharcoal Cable Knit SweaterMid Grey Lambswool SweaterNavy and Burgundy Birds Eye SweaterIrish Fisherman Aran Sweater

The results are in and this year’s color selection is charcoal. I missed out on purchasing a sweater last year when Brooks Brothers decided to add logos to their Shetlands and I didn’t have quite enough scratch for one from O’Connell’s Clothing, but this year I have a store credit or two to put to good use and I am looking forward to doing so.

Singing the Thrift Store Blues

Bostonian Crown Windsor Tassels

I recently came across a shoe that on the second-hand market that I have been pining over for a long time. This shoe is none other than the cordovan tassel loafer. The only problem was one that all of my thrifters, Ebay scourers, and other experts of the second-hand/vintage clothing markets can relate. Will they fit?
Tassel LoafersCrown WindsorsThis specific pair of tassels are Crown Windsors made by Bostonian. These tassels are not from the current iteration of Bostonian, but rather from an era when their quality was on par with Allen Edmonds and Alden. This specific pair was being advertised as having not been worn outside, but after taking a close look at the sellers pics I believed them to be new old stock (NOS). The quality, condition, and price (when compared with a new a pair) made them very very attractive to me.

My first move was to do some due diligence. I contacted a man of many tassels that I know and sought his counsel. He could not provide me with any fit information in regard to vintage Bostonian tassels, but he did have other pairs of vintage Bostonians and sent me what info he had. I did some more research on the web and in the end I felt the odds were in my favor. I pulled the trigger.
Genuine Shell CordovanBostonian Crown WindsorWhen the shoes arrived they were in spectacular condition. I now fully believe that they have never been worn before at all, inside or outside. I was enamored, but the moment of truth was here. Try on time. They fit a tad big, but I was still hopeful that after a full day of breaking them in that they would work for me. I was wrong. They slipped all day and were even painful. I was and still am crushed.

This sad story is one that I know many of you have experienced. It is also why I am weary of the second-hand/vintage market. While I can certainly get my money back out of them it involves me reselling them which in my opinion is a form of torture. Moving forward I will be purchasing less and less from this market as I can afford it, but for now I will just sing you my thrift store blues.