I found myself under the weather this weekend. The cool wet weather has not helped either. I have spent the majority of my downtime either sleeping or drinking tea. With not much creative energy I thought that I would take this time to do a few updates.
I have been a moc binge. First it was my L.L. Bean camp mocs (A trip to Bean), then a pair of Minnetonka classic drivers (The Summer of Mocs), and then another pair of Minnentonkas. I originally purchased a size 8 in the classic driver. It ended up being a little too narrow. I grabbed an 8.5 and they are about perfect. I liked them so much that I ordered a pair of the Moosehide driving mocs (see here). They are remarkably comfortable. More so than the drivers, but they don’t look quite as cool. They also run smaller and don’t come in half sizes. I ended up with a size 10.
My next pick-up was very similar. I liked my brushed PRL sweater (Featured in my sweater showdown) so much that I purchased the pink one when they went back on sale. The pink is…pink! I am not shy about wearing pink, but this pushed me into new territory. I have worn the sweater at least 10 times since I purchased it. The pink did not deter me at all. I enjoyed wearing it.
I probably don’t do updates enough. These two updates in particular highlight the biggest reasons that there would be updates. The first is fit. I am sure that any of you that online shop can relate. The next is that I like it something so much that I buy another. This is something that I encourage and will have more on that in an upcoming post. Now I am off to rest.
If you have not heard of J.Press Blue yet I will fill you in. Blue is Press’s second shot at courting the younger market with “updated classics.” Here is how Press describes the line,
J.Press Blue is our newest collection in the J. Press brand. J. Press Blue represents a modern evolution of the long established J. Press heritage. The collection is more modern, with an updated, youthful flair. The new line is a direct descendant of J. Press heritage, inheriting the appreciation for fine tailoring and quality fabrics. It has slimmer fit with an adventurous use of fabric and prefect details.
J. Press Blue is the embodiment of the J.Press man, who experiments with and tests the boundaries of his more traditional fashion sense.
I checked out the collection online and was impressed with their Spring/Summer sport coat collection. The three jackets that stood out to me were the cord jacket ($495), the navy gingham sport coat ($625), and the poplin blazer ($480). All three jackets are 3/2 sack with patch pockets and hook vents. They are moderately priced ranging from $480-$625.
I thought this was a nice mix of warm weather offerings. I am partial to the poplin jacket, because of how much use I get out of my old Brooks Brothers Wash ‘n’ Wear jacket (Wash ‘n’ Wear post). The navy Gingham jacket is very seasonal, but the small scale of the gingham a little more versatile. To round out the options a cord jacket is offered instead of the more common seersucker.
In general these “updated classics” lines don’t turn out so great. York Street left a lot to be desired and Brooks Brother’s Red Fleece fails to incorporate the Trad/Ivy details into their clothing. Ralph Lauren Rugby had its hit and misses, but it taught me a lesson. A sweater that I purchased from Rugby and wear often reminds me to not only take the good with the bad, but to appreciate that good.
J.Press Blue has potential. It has the potential to provide 3/2 sack sport coats with all the details at price point that doesn’t deter all, but the die hard. This is a space that I would love to see served as limited availability of Trad/Ivy and the high prices it commands set high barriers to entrance.
We will see were the Blue line goes. Will it do any better than York Street? Will it be around longer than Rugby? Will it fit me? All of these questions will be answered in time. Even if Blue does not live up to my very low expectations I hope that I remember to take advantage of the good items that they have to offer instead of focusing on what’s wrong with overall collection.
Rarely do you read about jeans on Trad & Ivy forums or blogs. It is a taboo topic. Just to provide a little context around the complex relationship between Trad and jeans, Christian from Ivy Style’s denim post was called “The End is Here: An Ivy Style Jeans Post.” Wheat jeans on the other hand have managed to escape the stigma of their blue brothers and have gained acceptance into the the world of Trad & Ivy.
Wheat jeans get their credibility primarily from being a part of the 1960’s west coast prep look. From what I can put together wheat jeans gained popularity sometime in the early 60’s as part of the west coast prep/Beach Boy/surfer look. Wheat jeans were worn right along with Pendletons, Purcells, and all of the other west coast classics that have worked their way into Ivy League closets
There are currently two great threads about wheat denim that touch on their history and where you can find a pair now. AAAT member Gamma68, started the “The Trad Wheat Jeans Thread.” One of the gems of this thread is member Reuben’s suggestion of getting a pair of wheat jeans from Wrangler. He recommends the Wrangler Cowboy Cut in tan (See here) and others seem to agree. Another great read is Talk Ivy’s, “Surf Ivy/The West Coast Look,” started by Member Tommy. There are a ton of great west cost prep pictures to check out (Like the ones I used above) in this thread.
Wheat jeans are no longer just for surfers on the west coast. Though they still have their California cool vibe they are also worn by the crowd that just doesn’t really like jeans. For this crowd wheat jeans allows them to add a casual denim fabric into the mix without having to give up tan color in which they are so comfortable. I don’t have a pair of wheat jeans myself, but I am contemplating getting a pair.
As warmer weather draws near our thoughts turn to colorful madras, cool wearing seersucker, and of course the eschewing of socks. Today marks the first day of spring, but the weather has a mind of its own and has decided that we will have to put our warm weather gear away for at least 1 more week. If you have already been sporting your boat shoes without socks you may need to add a pair for the upcoming chilly mornings.
If you are still reading after I suggested that you wear a pair of socks with boat shoes let me explain. I am not suggesting that you add a pair of dress socks or white athletic socks. I am suggesting a rustic pair of socks with texture that will turn your warm weather friend into a cool cold weather shoe.
Ragg wool socks are an Ivy/Trad staple. They have all of the traits that Trads value. They are simple, well crafted items that work well, but unlike many Trad items they are also affordable. Ragg wool socks can be had for around $10-$15 a pair. My go-to brands are L.L. Bean (Bean Ragg Sock) and Wigwam (Wigwam El-Pine), but there are lots of other companies manufacturing ragg wool socks so be sure to look around. I also recommend stopping by your local TJ Maxx/Marshalls as these are great places to find ragg wool socks for cheap.
Soon the weather will be too warm to even consider wearing socks with boat shoes. Yes, that statement means that I am strongly against the wearing of socks with boat shoes outside of what I have described above. Even no-show socks. The sock-less look (and feel!) is not for everyone, but neither are boat shoes. For those of you that want to wear socks with your boat shoes I suggest a pair of Camp Mocs (like the ones on the left). These will not look out of place with socks just don’t wear them with socks and shorts!
I have often been described as consistent, dependable, and reliable. I am proud of these traits as they are a big part of who I am, but…yes, there is a but. Often these characteristics translate as predictable. While I myself am a big fan of predictable I also aim to please. Cue the tie.
I purchased the tie above over a year ago and it has hung on my tie rack ever since waiting for the day it gets to see some action. When I first saw the tie I was enamored with the playful pattern presented in a deep rich red made of wool challis. I knew that it was a little outside of my comfort zone, but I was drawn to it and it cost me around $10 on the second hand market if I remember correctly.
Last month I woke up with the intent of wearing it. I just wasn’t sure how. I tried a solid blue OCBD first. Something didn’t look quite right. I thought that a white OCBD would work, but I have an aversion to white shirts outside of formal settings where they are required. My trusty blue university striped OCBD was just right. It provided the right mix of pattern and color to serve as a backdrop for this bold tie.
I learned a few things about this tie during its first outing. The first is that it is a beautiful tie. I admired it all day long. I also learned that it would look best with my navy blazer and grey flannels. There is something about it that is a little too something for chinos. I also thought that if I had that camel hair sport coat (or any tan colored sport coat) that I have been lusting after that they would look terrific together.
The moral of this story is to not be afraid to wear something that you would not normally wear. You could surprise yourself and find a new look to add to your repertoire. At the same time, remember that you are creating your look so look the way that you want to look. I am often known for wearing the same thing day in and day out. I am more than okay with that. I know that it is one of my strengths.