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The “Soft Shoulder Shuffle” by The Hook Vents

Everybody's Dancing

While I may appear stuffy, curmudgeony, and all kinds of fuddy duddy I do like to have fun! So when I heard the “Soft Shoulder Shuffle” by the Hook Vents I knew that I had to share it. You can check out their song here: The Hook Vents  This band is composed of a few Ivy League fanatics that definitely get it. I hope that it makes your day like it made mine!

Lyrics to the “Soft Shoulder Shuffle”

Verse 1
This here’s the soft shoulder shuffle, I do it all the timeSoft Shoulder Shuffle
The rags I wear may be old, but they’re looking mighty fine

Button down collar with a button in back, when the ladies pass by
they know I’ve really got the knack

Strides pressed and clean and barely touchin’ my shoes
With that ivy league look you know you just can’t lose

Verse 2
Herringbone tweed with a 3/2 roll,
Come along baby now let’s take a little stroll

If it’s cool outside don’t you worry one bit
Just take my mohair sweater and cuddle up in it

All the cats on the street know there ain’t no other way
Gather round boys, here’s what I have to say

Chorus
Do the soft shoulder shuffle
(3-2 roll)
Do the soft shoulder shuffle
(It’s good for the soul)
Do the soft shoulder shuffle
Oh yeah
You do the soft shoulder shuffle
(Come on now!)
You learn the soft shoulder shuffle and you always be feeling fine

Verse 3
Now all you sloppy dressing silly lookin’ men,
Take a lesson from me cause I’ll say it once again

You need a flannel suit and a slim knit tie
A hopsack blazer and now you’re really gettin’ by

It’s a stubborn look, just won’t go out of style,
If you follow my advice, it’s sure to make you smile

Chorus
Do the soft shoulder shuffle
(Soft shoulder shuffle!)
Do the soft shoulder shuffle
Oh yeah
Do the soft shoulder shuffle
(Herringbone Tweed!)
Do the soft shoulder shuffle
(All that you need!)
You do the soft shoulder shuffle and you always be feeling fine

 

United States of Trad: John R. Bolton

Bolton Featured Image

It is time to put our political differences aside and celebrate the fact that “the look” is still alive (, but not well) in US politics. This edition of the United States of Trad pays tribute to one man that is keeping the trad flame burning. His name is John R. Bolton.

The son of a fireman, born in Baltimore, Maryland Bolton went on to attend Yale University. He has since spent his career in public service as well as working for prestigious law firms, think tanks, but is probably most well known for being the 25th United States Ambassador to the United Nations (or perhaps for being a Fox News Channel Commentator).
John Bolton Repp TieIt is not Mr. Bolton’s accomplishments in the world of politics that has earned him a spot here, but rather his dress. I have never seen Bolton without an OCBD on (Yes, even when wearing a suit.), his selection of ties stays well within traditional guidelines (He primarily sports striped ties with the occasional neat or paisley mixed in.), and he often wears a 3/2 sack suit.
John Bolton Sack SuitJohn Bolton Sack Suit 2John Bolton tan SuitI do agree with that he would benefit from a few small wardrobe tweaks. The roll of his collar could be improved and his ties would look a lot better with a dimple, and we would all love to see him move to wearing exclusively 3/2 sack suits, but I think that this is just nitpicking.
John Bolton Crew Neck

There are very few politicians that continue to dress in this traditional  American manner. Mr. Bolton, however not only carries on this tradition on the national level, but on an international level working with leaders of the world wearing an OCBD with a suit and a repp tie and for that we salute him.

The Party Sport Coat: Batik

Party

Summer means vacation and that means it is time for fun. Clothing used to be one of the main ways that was used to communicate to others that you were not working. However, times have changed. With today’s dress codes being so relaxed the ability to distinguish office wear from casual wear is difficult. I am not going to go down that rabbit hole in this post, but instead focus on a classic piece of resort wear the Batik sport coat.

Batik sport coats were popular party jackets. They are loud. They are colorful. They are fun. They are not for the timid and no they will not work in the office not even on GTH Friday.

The exact origin of Batik fabric is unknown. What is known is that it is ancient art form has existed in Egypt, India, the Middle East, China, and West Africa for over 2,000 years. Traditional Batik is made using a wax resist dye process which gives it its distinct look and it has a very distinct look.
Club Monaco Batik                                    Club Monaco 3/2 Batik Sack Sport Coat (Southwick Cambridge Model?)

While the demand for Batik jackets is close to non-existent they are still being produced. The inspiration for this post was not a vintage image of a man on vacation, but rather the Batik jacket that I found on the site of the often overlooked (and under remembered) member of the Ralph Lauren family Club Monaco. It is a great looking jacket. They do offer pants, but I would not go whole hog. I would do one or the other.
O'Connell's batik-ish                                                    O’Connell’s Navy and White Batik-ish Sport Coat

Club Monaco was not the only brand with a Batik offering.  I also saw a great looking Batik-ish jacket offered on O’Connell’s website that was not new old stock. Last, but not least I spotted a Batik pocket square on Sid Mashburn’s site for those who aren’t ready to dive right into a sport coat.
Batik Pocket Square                                                                 Sid Mashburn Batik Pocket Square

Batik may never again experience the popularity that it did in its heyday, but it is not gone yet. It can still be comfortably worn in a party or vacation setting, but be warned that  it will draw attention. I have aspirations to wear one at some point. I think that I will wait until I reach senior citizen status and don’t have to worry about getting too much attention. At that point in my life I will be most likely be ignored by almost everyone and those that do notice my fancy jacket will just chalk it up as something that was popular back in my day.

A (Calendar) Year in Japanese Trad

A Year in

I have mentioned that I enjoy illustrations in the past (Art, Ads, and Classic Style). I may have not mentioned that I am especially interested in Japanese illustrations of Trad/ Ivy/ Preppy Americans. These illustrations can range from extremely accurate with all the right details to caricatures sporting outlandish looks.

Here I present illustrations by Hiroshi Watatani from the 10th anniversary calendar for the Japanese trad brand Select Store Septis. Not only do these illustrations focus on American style and culture, but they even pay tribute to the American illustration styles such as the ones that can be found in the artwork from the Saturday Evening Post.

There is something extremely interesting about viewing something that I am very familiar with through the lense of a foreign culture. It may not be that different from how older gentlemen today view the younger generation’s take on the classics. In both instances it is sometimes done very well and at other times it seems as if it were lost in translation.
10th anniversaryJanuary - Sierra DesignsMCGregor - FebruaryFelco - MarchSperry - AprilTailgate - MayJune
septisjulJulyAugustSeptemberNovemberDecember

Trad DIY: How to Hem pants with a Cuff

016

With a box of unhemmed chinos staring at me for well over a month I finally broke down and decided to something about it. My dry cleaner takes at least two weeks to turn this around. My tailor takes one week, but he is an hour away. So that something turned out being learning how to hem them myself …with a cuff.

My first step was to learn how cuffs were constructed. I could have searched the internet for the perfect answer, but having a few pairs of chino with cuffs coming apart on their own I just looked at how they were constructed.  That is all to say fair warning. There may be better methods out there.

Here is the formula that arrived at:

X” for cuff
+
X” for cuff
+
1” for hem
+
.5” to turn under
Amount of material required

I wanted 1.5″ cuffs.
My formula looked like this:

1.5” cuff
+
1.5” cuff
+
1” for hem
+
.5” to turn under
4.5” of material
Sewing Starter KitNext, I had to get the proper tools. Luckily my mom who has helped me out of more than one sartorial jam with her alteration skills agreed to help. She put together a  simple sewing kit for around 10 dollars. This kit included everything (listed below) that I would need to hem my pants. She also volunteered her tutelage for the sewing portion of the project. A big thank you goes out to her for the help!

Tools required:

  • Chalk
  • Needles
  • Thread
  • Pins
  • Seam ripper (I didn’t need this, because my chinos were unfinished.)
  • Measuring tape for cloth
  • Thimble

Creating the Cuff

  1. Mark chinos at desired length for wearing (if the pants are not unfinished like the ones I began with this is where I recommend letting the hem out.)
  2. Measure down X inches of material that is required for desired cuff size
  3. Double check measurement
  4. Cut off excess material
  5. Fold material up toward the outside by the amount of material that you added for the cuff (see bel0w)
    Turning chino cuff up
  6. Iron material
  7. Fold the material down toward the bottom of the pants. The material will now pass the bottom of the pants by 1.5”.
  8. Iron material
  9. Turn the material inside of the pants by 1” and iron. You will now be able to see what the finished pants will look like.
    Cuff
  10. Pin the bottom of the cuff. I would put at least two pins in. One on each size.
    Pinning Cuff
  11. Turn the pants inside out
    Turn inside out
  12. Turn .5” of the extra material down behind this material
  13. Iron the material
  14. Take a break

Hemming the Cuff

  1. Thread the needle with 2-3 ft. of thread and tie a knot at one end of the thread
  2. Now we are going to start sewing. Take the needle and place it through the extra material pulling the know so that it will get stuck
  3. Next run the needle through a little bit of the main chino material.  You don’t have to worry too much about the thread showing because we are sewing low enough that it the cuff will cover our marks. See the picture below to better understand the sewing method I described.
    Sewing Cuff
  4. Continue sewing like this until you get to the other seam
  5. We will now attach the top portion of the cuff to chinos so that they are secure
  6. Push the needle through to the outside of the pants
  7. Next going back and forth between the inside of the cuff and the main leg of trouser 4-6 times so that the thread is not visible
  8. After attaching the top portion of the cuff to the chinos push the needle back through into the inside of the chinos.
  9. Knot the thread and pull tight the thread tight so that you have enough thread to keep sewing
  10. Continue to sewing as you were in Step 3 until you come to the seam on the other side
  11. Repeat Step 7
  12.  After completing Step 7 add 2-3 knots and then cut off excess thread
  13. Enjoy your freshly cuffed and hemmed chinos!

Finshed PantsFinished Product (Undisclosed Chinos)

Learning how to hem pants may be one of the most useful skills that I have learned. I feel liberated. No longer am I dependent on my tailor or the dry cleaner to hem a pair of trousers and the timeline to turn them around is now up to me. Plus, I save $20 for every pair that I hem myself. If you have any question about the process please don’t hesitate to ask. While creating this post I learned just how challenging it can be to write step-by-step directions.