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The Pursuit of the Perfect Pair of Chinos: Update

The Uniform

Christian from Ivy-Style recently blogged about his Full Rise, Narrow Leg: The Ivy Style Khaki Project. This immediately reminded me of my search for collegiate cut chinos which are also known for their full rise and narrow leg. More importantly it reminded me that I owe you all an update.
Perfect Chino Search

After experimenting with so many pairs of chinos I actually kind of gave up. Well not so much gave as  took a break. During my search for collegiate cut chinos I ordered a few pair of J.Crew Essential Chinos in Classic fit to wear while the others were being altered. In the end I was content with the J.Crew chinos.

I have been wearing these J.Crew chinos for years. They are far from perfect, but the rise is ok for me and the leg opening is 7.75” on a 29 waist (this is one of my biggest challenges) with a 29” inseam. I have made one change that had a good impact. I have stopped washing and drying my chinos on hot. I think that this has helped to add a little more rise and overall volume to this set of chinos compared with my older ones.
The Perfect Chinos

Are the J.Crew classic fit chinos the perfect chino? No, they are not. Are they as cool as the pair pictured above? No way. Do they work for now? Yes, they fit decent enough and it is great to stop thinking about how much better they could be. Do I still want to taper them a quarter inch? You know that I do.

While I may have fought off my urge for collegiate cut trousers for the moment I am very interested in seeing how Christian’s project turns out. Maybe they will be the ones?

For those of you that have not read about my search for collegiate cut chinos you can find links below.

Collegiate Cut Chinos Part 1

Collegiate Cut Chinos Part 2

Collegiate Cut Chinos Part 3

Collegiate Cut Chinos Part 4

Lean Garments: Pre-Order Popovers

Feature

It seems that popovers all are the rage again this summer. I previously published my top popover picks (Top of the Pops), but last week this popover from Lean Garments popped up on my radar. Blue OCBD PopoverIf you aren’t familiar with Lean Garments they are a new company out of Finland headed up by two 20-year old engineering students. They started with the goal of making an “affordable OCBD with proper unlined collar roll and other details for our friends here at university campus”. Their OCBD features an unlined 3.5” Collar and sells for $32. The drawback is alpha sizing, but if the sizing works for you that is quite a deal.

After tackling a Chambray shirt they are now rolling out a Popover OCBD (Available in blue and white) for $35. The popover appears to have the same collar length of the OCBD. They are long sleeved with a flap pocket, rear box pleat and a rounded short hem that was made to be worn untucked. I dig the white popover. There will be quibbles about the dimensions I am sure. I have my own, but at least they provide a detailed measurement chart (Popover sizing) to save us from complete disappointment and frustration.

It looks like I waited too long to post this and they now only have a handful more pre-orders. Their limited supply is a common complaint. In fact, it is the only complaint that I have heard apart from the alpha sized OCBDs.

In their defense, Lean Garments started as a student project (not sure where it stands now) and even at their young age they have learned what many other brands still have not which is that it is always better to leave the people wanting more. This is a brand to keep your eye on as they continue to roll out classic casual pieces at a great detail-to-dollar ratio.

The Search for Classic Golf Shoes

Golf Shoe Search

I am back on my golf kick. While I am by no means a natural athlete I usually pick up sports pretty quickly. At least well enough to not embarrass myself. Golf on the other hand has turned out to be a whole different story, but I am making progress. In fact, I got my fist par last week! Now that I am getting comfortable enough to get out on the course more regularly I need to invest in a pair of golf shoes.

I spent some time last week hunting down a pair of classic golf shoes. It turns out this not an easy task if you want something saddle-like in brown leather. Which of course I did, I even found a pair for or two in the $200 range, but my current golf game is not yet deserving of such nice shoes. Below are my top 3 picks for classic looking golf shoes and my runner-up .

1. Allen Edmonds First Cut Golf Shoes – $295
Allen Edmonds makes some of the best classic dress shoes around so it is no wonder that they do the same when it comes to golf. These classic saddles have a rugged distressed look which is great for the course and are eligible for recrafting adding some lifetime value to the purchase. Allen Edmonds First Cut Golf Shoes2. FootJoy Custom DryJoys Tour – $230
I used FootJoy’s My Joy custom online program to whip up these saddles. There are numerous color options to pick from, but this pair which consists of a waxy bomber brown base with a brown smooth leather saddle are gorgeous. If it were not for the futuristic sole these may have been my #1 pick. FootJoy DryJoy Custom3. FootJoy City – $190
These FJ City’s are reminiscent of a pair of dirty bucks with their tan base and brick red sole making them a natural choice for the trad golfer. Coming in at under $200 dollars they also don’t hit the pockets quite as hard as the first two. FootJoy CityRunner up – Footjoy Superlites 2-13 Closeout – $59.99

Last, but not least is the pair that I purchased. Before you start thinking that I am in bed with the people at Footjoy I am not (FootJoy people, call me!), but they do seem to cater to the traditional crowd more than most. I chose this pair, because the style and price all lined up. I can’t give a detailed review t this time as I am still eagerly waiting for them to arrive. Footjoy SuperlitesI am going to settle for the white & tan saddles at the moment. As I said, my game needs a lot of improvement before I can make justify dropping $200 or more on a pair of golf shoes, but it is good to know that there still are some classic looking golf shoes on the market.

It does seem that there are very few companies targeting the traditional/classic/heritage market. The two biggest players appear to be Footjoy and Allen Edmonds (don’t forget to check the AE shoe bank!). Are there any golf shoes that I overlooked?

Office Trad

Office Trad

It is no secret that I am an advocate for the traditional American look. I think that it is a way of dressing that will serve one well for the duration of their life. I also think that is a look that will serve one especially well in the workplace. I  have listed just of few of these reasons below.
The UniformMy Uniform – I think that this is a good example of the look that could be applied to most business casual settings.

1. Be seen, but not heard. – The look is conservative. It does not draw attention for being extremely colorful (I suggest keeping GTH gear outside of the office. At least at first), inappropriately tight, or revealing. It is not too casual nor is it cuff link and Windsor knot fancy. These are good things. It also demonstrates a neat professional appearance that is generally appreciated by companies. In summary, your clothes will not speak louder than your work.

2. Always appropriate. – This is not a style that changes much. Sure lapel widths, collar points, and the rise on trousers have changed a few times over the last 65 or so years, but not much else. The upshot here is that you won’t have to buy a new wardrobe and change your style every few years, because your clothes are no longer cool. While the look may not always be fashionable it will always be appropriate. I wanted to say that it is more economical as well, but all my trads know that is probably not true!

3. Ready, set, go! – The look is simple, easy to learn, and looks great on almost everyone. My biggest decision in the morning is deciding what color Shetland or tie to wear and any of them would work. Someone once told me that this style will allow you to clothes your eyes, pick your clothes, and still look good. Maybe not great, but good!

The look can be an asset to you at the office as long as you apply it to fit within the parameters of your workplace. It won’t overshadow your work and your boss will never have to worry about if you will look professional, it will never be outdated (at least in our lifetime), and it is a simple style that is easy to learn. Long live penny loafers, chinos, and the OCBD!

From Matunga to Manhattan

Madras

The weather has been unseasonably warm here the last few days which led me to jumping the gun on Madras season. While I blame the heat I am not at all upset about this development. It has been gorgeous outside.

A few weeks back a writer from the Daily News and Analysis India approached me about using one of my Madras images (see above) for an upcoming story on the fabric. While they ultimately chose not to use my image I thought that it was an interesting article well worth sharing with all my Madras loving Trads.

There’s apparently nothing in common between Ramasubbu and Brooks Brothers. The former is a street vendor in Matunga Market, Mumbai. The latter, an upmarket men’s clothing brand – the oldest in the US – headquartered in Manhattan. But dig deeper, and you’ll find that they’re inextricably linked by a design so much a part of Indian society that we seldom think twice about it.

Click here for the full read. I am off to enjoy the warm weather.
Golf Madras