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End of Summer Tartan Shirts

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Here in Ohio I have been noticing summer drawing to a close over the past 2 weeks. We have been experiencing both summer and fall temps with Autumn in the air. Everyone is getting excited for the cooler weather and all of the layering that comes along with it, but until then we still have to deal with heat. This is the time of year wear a muddy madras shirt in browns, blues, and greens is indispensable, but I have found another late summer option in my poplin tartan shirt.

I have always thought (and still do to an extent) that tartan shirts are strictly for fall and winter wear. However, there seems to be a tradition of trads sporting tartan shirts in lightweight fabrics during the summer. I say that because these lightweight tartan shirts can be found at O’Connell’s and Mercer’s. I also recall seeing some from Brooks Brothers in the past and J.Press having them in walking shorts.
Gordon Broadcloth

Mercer & Son’s Dress Gordon in Broadcloth ($155)
Tartan Shirt in Broadcloth

O’Connell’s Blackwatch Shirt in Broadcloth ($145)

One thing that I found interesting about these shirts are the patterns. These shirts are primarily made in Dress Gordon and Blackwatch Tartans. This is great for me as Dress Gordon is by far my favorite tartan with Blackwatch being a close second. I seem to recall seeing some in Dress Stewart, but I could not find one available at this time.

As the weather transitions and the colors of summer start to fade lightweight tartan shirts make a great pairing. The poplin will keep you cool while the tartan colors are a nice nod to the changing weather. Additionally these shirts can be worn when warm weather is far far behind us and we are dreaming of madras again.

Papa Needs a Brand New Bag

Me and My Bag

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.
Current BagI 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.
Filson Original Brief Case

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.
West Branch Tote
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.

Heritage Waxed Messenger Bag

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.
Sportsman's BriefcaseI 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.

Michael Spencer OCBD Sale

Michael Spencer

If you are in the market for a new OCBD or just want to expand your trad horizons outside of Brooks Brothers and J.Press boy do I have some good news for you! Michael Spencer is currently running a $40 off sale (bringing the price down to $95 from $135) to celebrate the Fourth of July. While the Fourth has came and went the sale continues until July 14th.

A little more about Michael Spencer. He is an advertiser on this site (and is very much appreciated!), but that is not why I posted this sale. His shirts are the real deal. They are made in the same factory as Brooks Brothers along with all the usual suspects, but there are some advantages to a Michael Spencer OCBD. With Michael Spencer you can get lined or unlined collars, custom sleeve lengths, and just about any other trad detail that your heart desires.

If you are still on the fence about Michael Spencer’s OCBDs look no further. I have you covered. Here is a link to a review from Oxford Cloth Button Down reader Steve that he did for the blog a while back (Michael Spencer OCBD Review). He had nothing but good things to say.

Trads on Bikes

Featured Cycling

In my opinion there is nothing better than travelling by bicycle. While I have mastered the casual ride with social stops I have yet to get a handle on commuting to work. Luckily for me, my internet friend and fellow trad, Dallas has been posting fantastic pictures of his commute to work in Cambridge. These pictures have reassured me that it is possible to travel to work in trad. He was also kind enough to sit down with me to share some trad tips on cycling to work.

Before we get started I want to thank Dallas for his contributions (Thanks!). You can find more from this stylish young Trad at his Tumblr (getticketsforthedance.tumblr.com) and Instagram (getticketsforthedance). Trad Cycling 2What are the best clothing for cycling?
I think this really depends on where you’re going, what your route is to get there, and how you’re most comfortable. I’m on my bike basically everyday, and I see a real range of cycling clothes on other riders, everything from full spandex body suits to dressed up work attire. I tend to find myself more on the regular clothes end of the spectrum, as my current commute is relatively flat and only a few miles long. I’m on the road for around 20 minutes each way, at a fairly casual pace. In the past, when I had longer commutes, I experimented with wearing more technical underlayers, but I don’t do anything like that today. Is this a perfect system? Of course not. Do I still show up a little sweaty sometimes? Especially in summer heat, or when layered up in the winter? Of course I do, but you just learn to live with these things. This time of year I’ll roll my shirt sleeves, unbutton an extra collar button and soak up the sun.Trad Cycling 7Best shoes for cycling?
Maybe this is the wrong thing to say, but I just wear my normal shoes. As I said, I’m not traveling far, nor in difficult conditions. In the fall and winter I wear a lot of boots and chukka boots, in the spring and summer I wear a lot of moccasins and loafers, with a few lace-ups thrown in there (year round) for good measure. A nice thing about cycling is that it saves wear on the bottoms of your nicer shoes. Also in bad weather I have a few different options, from wellingtons, to Bean boots, to my trusty pair of Red Wings.Trad Cycling

Any tips you can share on getting to work via bike and still looking good?
Most days finds me in khakis and an oxford cloth button down, which is a fairly ideal combination in terms of knock-around-ability and breath-ability. If you’re really worried about sweating in work clothes, there are two things I would suggest, the first is to pack some deodorant and re-apply at your destination, and the second is to give yourself enough time so that you don’t have to rush. If you’re going a few miles at a casual pace you should have nothing to worry about. In colder weather it’s best to favor lighter layers, a lightweight packable rain jacket is a must (mine was a few bucks at a thrift store), and in the spring and summer I either don’t wear a blazer/jacket, or I stash it for my ride and put it back on once I get to work. All that being said, I tend to favor everything a little bit rumpled, and don’t really specialize in sartorial perfection. I like my clothes to look lived in, but not disheveled (there’s a fine line.) Basically, I’m the kind of guy that doesn’t press my trousers, but I steam my own button down shirts. I think biking plays into that, my ideal state of casual formality. I could wear these clothes to work at the office, but I could also bike 5 miles in them or play a pickup game of something.Trad Cycling 3Any biking tips?
It’s important to follow the laws of the road as much as possible. Am I perfect at this? Of course not, but I do my best. It’s simple things really, don’t ride against traffic, ever. You’re not only putting yourself in danger, but you’re putting everyone else on the road in danger. Stop at stop signs and lights, always look both ways when crossing, yield to pedestrians (especially in crosswalks). Nearly everyday I see cyclists doing something wrong, any of the things I just listed, and every single time I think how poorly that those actions reflect on all other cyclists. Oh and one more thing, wear a helmet. I always have one on, and you probably should too.
Trad bikes moreAny other thoughts?
Have fun out there. Enjoy the weather, the heat, the cold, the sun, the rain, the snow. I bike year round because I love the freedom, I can pick my route, come and go as I please, and really get a feel for the area along the way. I’ve met new people, talked with strangers on street corners while stopped at lights that I never would have otherwise met, I’ve even rode my bike past celebrities. It’s good for your health, it’s good for the environment, more bikes on the road means less car traffic, the list of benefits goes on and on. Thanks so much Jerrod for including me in your blog.

Ivy League Humor, Japanese Proverbs, & Ties

Pearls Before Swine

I thought that I had seen pretty much every humorous emblematic tie out there. Sure there might be 1 or 2 that have escaped me, but I have a good overall understanding of what is out there, or at least I thought that I did until I found Basarahadehiko’s Instagram account.

Basarahadehiko’s Instagram is where I learned that the Japanese have their own kind of novelty emblematic tie. These ties are based on Japanese proverbs. While many of the proverbs are well known others are uniquely Japanese, but the medium remains very American. The Ivy Style  inspiration is not limited to it being a tie, but also in the choice of animals, colors, and materials which adds to its charm.
Japanese Proverb TieJapanese Hare Proverb TieSaki TieHunting CurryWhen I asked about the origin of these ties I was stunned at the response. These ties were made primarily by J.Press and Brooks Brothers. I never knew. Humorous emblematic ties are nothing new to the Trad world (see Ivy League Humor) and neither is the Japanese interest in Trad, but this I had never seen or even heard about.

I have included a few samples of Basarahadehiko’s ties along with proverb in this post. This is only a small sampling. I encourage you to visit the Instagram account to see more.