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The Last Days of Tweed and More: Wear it While You Can

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Even though we are still experiencing temperatures in the single digits I know that warmer is weather is inevitable. Don’t get me wrong. I am more than ready to hang up my duffle coat, but I also know that the changing weather comes at a price. Part of that price is that our tweed wearing days are numbered. Tweed Sport Coat and Shetland SweaterCords for the cold In the top picture I am wearing a sport coat over a Shetland sweater sans tie which I reserve for very cold days. In the picture below I opted for tan cords over chinos, because there is never a shortage of opportunities to wear chinos, but wide-wale cords are a different story.

Tweed is not the only thing that goes when warm weather strikes. We will lose our wool socks, wool ties, and wool overcoats. While I have been strategically working each of my tweed sport coats into the mix, I have also been relying heavily upon corduroys, and even my tie selections have been influenced by the limited cold weather days before spring. Today's Ties OptionsTweed and Foulard TieIn the third picture you can see the two tie options that I set out before I dressed.  Pictured below is the tie that I ended up wearing. I knew that I would not have many more chances to wear this cold winter combination.

Again, I have nothing against spring. I invite the warm weather. I am hoping that it will cure my cabin fever.  I can’t wait to be able to leave the house in a Shetland with no coat, to break out the boat shoes and camp mocs, and to trade in my Saturday Tartan shirts for my Saturday Madras shirts. As the temperatures begin to rise over the next few weeks remember to wear it while you can.

More Ivy & Trad Illustrations

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I have a penchant for Japanese illustrations of the trad and Ivy League variety. I recently added two new books to my collection and I thought that I would share a few illustrations from each.

As you can see below the styles differ dramatically between the two books. The first set of 5 illustrations are from the Illustrated Book of Ivy. Most trad and ivy fans are well aware of these illustrations as they are no stranger to the menswear blog and style circuit. These illustrations are pure fun. I have probably selected the most conservative illustrations that the book has to offer. It also features cool illustrations of patterns, shoes, ties, and of course a handful of outfits that will send traditionalists into a frenzy.

The second set of illustrations are from the Official American Trad Handbook. This book was a bit of a miss pick. Primarily because the text to illustration ration is 99 to 1 (and I am only fluent in Japanese Illustrations, not text). It also features a few illustration from the first book. Despite these two drawbacks I was pleasantly surprised with the art. I can easily imagine these illustrations being part of a comic strip.

I am very happy with my purchases. These books are great to use as coffee table books, but not so great for  scholarly research. I don’t look to these illustrations for “the rules” or to better understand trad as a whole. I simply enjoy them for what they are which is exactly what I hope that you do, too.

Ivy Illustration 1Ivy Illustration 2Ivy Illustration 3Ivy Illustration 5Ivy Illustration 4
Trad  Illustration 1Trad Illustration 2
Trad Illustration 3Trad Image 4Trad Illustration 5

The Bow Tie Find: Vintage Patterns & Labels

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While out running errands a few weeks ago I decided to pop into one of my favorite thrift stores. It is a little shop and while I have seen a lot of nice suits and sport coats there I have never found anything for myself. I went in the zero expectations, but I left with 12 bow ties for $3. Needless to say, it was a good trip.

Finding ties at thrift stores is easy. Finding ties that I like at thrift stores is a little more challenging. Finding bow ties at thrift stores has proved itself extremely difficult.  So when I found the first bow tie I was surprised. When I found 12 more that I Liked (and about 6 that I loved) I was ecstatic. I have included a few pictures of the bow ties below.

The Patterns

Green Wool Bow tieFerrell Reed Pheasant Bow TieYellow Paisley Huntington Bow TiePaul Stuart Bow TieVintage Madras Bow tieGreen Vintage Bow TieBatik Bow tieThe patterns are great, but there are some very cool labels as well. I found the Magnolia Cottage label first and loved its simplicity. I noticed the Welch, Margetson label in the store and immediately remembered that Richard Press mentioned the brand in a post (Here is that post: The Black Sheep). I didn’t discover the Made in England Rike-Kumler Co. in Dayton until I got home, but because it is local it is my favorite.

The Labels

MAGNOLIA COTTAGE Bow Tie LabelThe RIKE-KUNLER CO. Dayton Bow TieWelch, Margetson 8 Bow TiePaul Stuart Label on Bow Tie

An interesting fact that is relevant to this post is that I don’t actually wear bow ties. Well, I have worn a bow tie 3 times in my life, but I am still not comfortable in one, at least not in an office setting. However, I have learned that I do not know what the future holds. I may decide to wear bow ties in the future and that time I will appreciate the $3 investment.

The Real Shaggy Dog

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This week I tackle the authenticity of another Trad classic; the Shaggy Dog. Now we may have come to know the Shaggy Dog as a brushed Shetland sweater from J.Press, but these pictures I found online make me question the origin of the Shaggy Dog. Perhaps the name Shaggy Dog has nothing to do with the resemblance of the brushed wool to a shaggy dog’s coat at all, but instead is named after a stylish Trad dog like the dogs that J.Press caters to in Japan? J.Press Real Shaggy Dog J.Press Shaggy Puffy CoatIf you haven’t guessed by now I am only joking. After last week’s post I thought that it would be a good reminder for us all to remember that while there is nothing wrong with wanting to learn and understand the history of clothes it should be something that brings joy and not causes that causes duress. J.Press Shaggy Dog ClothesJ.Press Frisbee Obviously the scenario that I proposed in the opening paragraph was made up, but the images and products in this post are not a joke. It seems that Hannari the company that produces the J.Press line for dogs in Japan  has launched a US site. I will admit that many of these items seem fairly ridiculous to me, but I will also add that I  am not a dog owner either. If I were a dog owner (or a college kid)  I would definitely pick up the frisbee. You can checkout the complete Hannari J.Press Collection for Dogs here: http://hannari.us/collections/j-press

The Plausible History of the 3/2 Roll

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A few days ago I was leaving a comment on Ivy Styles most recent blog post by longtime commenter and newest author DCG (a great addittion) entitled, “The Millennial Fogey: Why Do We Get So Worked Up Over Brooks Brothers?” During a quick search for some supporting evidence for my comment I found an interesting entry on the Brooks Brothers site about the history of the 3/2 roll.

Here is it is. Straight from the horse’s mouth.

Brooks Brothers 3/2 Roll History

This history sounds trendier than I would have imagined (or perhaps preferred to imagine), but I will add it to the list of 3/2 creation theories. I have briefly laid out the three explanations that I am currently aware of below:

  1. Original Design – The 3/2 roll was not meant to look like or mimic any jacket.
  2. Influenced by well-worn 3-buttons Jackets – The 3/2 roll was designed to look like a well-worn 3-button jacket that had developed the 3/2 roll overtime.
  3. Influenced by College-age Trend – As Brooks Brothers suggests above the 3/2 roll was made to capitalize on a trend created by college age students of pressing back the 3rd button.

What’s the truth? We may never know the whole history of the #1 sack (even with the world’s leading Trad scientists on the case), but my instinct tells me that it was probably not an original design. If it were original and not meant to look like the jacket had either been pressed or naturally rolled to that position I can’t imagine the designer including the 3rd button and button hole on the jacket. However, I could be underestimating the creativity of designers.

The last two explanations both seem plausible. I have to admit that I would prefer that the 3/2 roll have been created to imitate a well-worn 3-button jacket instead of made to feed a fashion trend created by college kids. However, the history that Brooks Brothers offers above is more of a statement and less of a complete history. Perhaps the trend had less to do with 2-button jackets being passé as mentioned by Brooks, but instead the students did it because they wanted the well-worn look of the 3/2 roll?

Any other theories out there?