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A Visit to L.L. Bean

Columbus Ohio LL Bean Store

Usually a trip to L.L. Bean means a trip to Freeport, Maine, but thanks to Bean’s retail expansion I only had to travel an hour down the road to Columbus, Ohio. I had never been to an L.L. Bean store so I was interested to take in the new store in first hand.
Columbus Ohio Bean BootI was a little concerned that the store would look like a shopping mall version of L.L.Bean. I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was not actually in the mall, but had its own free standing building near a mall. Bean also stayed true to its outdoorsy roots by offering quite a bit of their outdoor gear at the fatality not just their clothing.

My other concern was stock. Often when I enter a brick and mortar store I know exactly what I am looking for as I have previously scoped it out online. When I ask for that particular item the salesperson often hits me with, “We don’t carry the in-store, but I can order it for you.” No offense to the salesperson, but I am a competent e-shopper and need no help in ordering something online. The other issue is often sizing. Many brick and mortar stores with a strong e-commerce presence don’t stock many sizes. Once again I was impressed as I found 90% of what I was interested in and they had a full range of sizes in store.
Bean MocsI know that you all are wondering if I made any purchases. I did. I ended walking away with a pair of camp mocs and bluchers mocs. I went with the Signature line models as they had both versions for me to compare and the Signature line was noticeably nicer. I haven’t had a chance to break them in yet, but you can expect a full review in the future.

When I first heard about Bean’s plans to increase their physical presence I was wary. My concern was that they would increase their overhead so much that if and when Bean boots are not the hottest trend of the season that Bean will have to meet current trends to keep its doors open. For all of my trad readers I will call this the Brooks Brother effect. My visit set me at ease, at least for the time being. I just hope that in another 100 years that I will still be able to recognize the brand.

Are Baseball Caps Trad???

Trad Caps

The title of this post is certainly going to resonate with Trad forumites as this is one of the quintessential ways that one uses to step into unknown territory. Luckily, for the sake of this blog I ask the question in jest as I already know the answer. Yes, baseball caps are trad, but like any article of trad clothing it is all about the where and the when.
Brooks Brothers Tartan Ball Cap

Brooks Brothers Tartan Baseball Hat

 I recently picked up a new baseball cap which caught the colleague that I was with by surprise. They told me that they did not think that I wore ball caps. This did not shock me, because my work appearance is not one that you would especially associate with ball cap wear (Plus, it would destroy my well coiffed hair). However, I assured my colleague that I occasionally sport a cap.
Wool Bean Baseball Hat

LL Bean Baseball Hat
Ball caps are a handy item to have around. I throw my hat on if I have to run really early or late errands, or when I am just looking scruffy, but there are lots of other times when wearing a ball cap is trad sanctioned. This includes ball games, golf, boating, yard work, fishing, and almost any outdoor activity where some protection from the sun would be appreciated.

What kind of baseball caps are acceptable you ask? Well, there are no hard and fast rules accept that you like it. This could be your favorite team, a club that you belong to, a plain cap, one with a needlepoint embroidery, or even a tartan patterned cap that would be perfect for fall chores, and even though I made a big stink about wearing clothes with logos a baseball cap is one logo’d item that doesn’t get me bent out of shape.

I hope that this post has provided a little relief to any of my ball cap sporting readers. Know that you are not alone. If you are in need of a baseball hat both Ideal Cap Co. and Ebbets  are great places to start. Just remember to take off your cap when indoors!

Changing of the Guard

Frayed OCBD

I have been living off of a 15 shirt purchase for the past 6-7 years. This is when I saw my go-to shirt, the Lands’ End Original Oxford plummet to $8 a shirt. At the time I thought that they were liquidating old stock, because they were changing factories, colors, or something to that effect. I was wrong. It was the end of my shirt. Now my stock is starting to show their age (See the fraying shirt above.). I am going to need a new shirt.
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Here is a good example of the great collar roll that these shirts could produce.

I get quite a few emails asking me for my OCBD recommendations. I always feel bad when responding as I have very limited experience with any OCBD other than my LE Original Oxfords. My total experience consists of 3 shirts, including my LE shirts. In addition to my LE shirts I have one vintage Brooks Brothers OCBD and a new-ish one from J.Press. The Brooks rolls well while the one from J Squeeze has the iconic flap pocket, but lacks the collar roll that I am after.

So dear readers I will tell you what all this means to you. It means that I will be trying out a new shirt here and there trying to find the OCBD for me, which should result in me having some more up to date feedback. I am not too picky when it comes to OCBD. All I want is one that has a collar that rolls. The search begins…

Know Your Tartan Type

Dress Gordon Tartan

Tartan shirts are great for casual Fridays and weekends like Saturday Style), but do you know your tartan type? Now I am not suggesting that you spend hours and hours researching what tartan that you can possibly link to your heritage. I probably wouldn’t have much luck there, and if I did I probably wouldn’t like the tartan that was assigned to me.
Dress Gordon ShirtWhat I am talking about is finding a tartan that works for you. For example, I primarily wear one tartan. That tartan is Dress Gordon. I do this because I have found that it works well with my look and it looks pretty good on me (in my humble opinion).
Dress Gordon 1Once you find the tartan that you like best the next consideration is scale. I know that I mention scale a lot and there is a good reason for that. It is extremely important. In my case, I have found that smaller scales look best on me. Knowing this keeps me from purchasing shirts that I think I want, but know won’t work.
Dress gordon 2This post is another example of the type of simplicity that I promote. I limit myself to one or two tartans, because it helps me to create a cohesive look while allowing for a certain amount of variety as there are so many variations of each tartan. The same goes for scale. Keeping things similar reduces peoples ability to notice change. This in my opinion is a good thing.

Duck Hunting

Mallard Cords

Commenter Fred Johnson got me thinking about all things ducks after last week’s tie post. So, I geared up, ventured out on the internet and went hunting. I know a place that almost always comes through, and this time was no exception.

I ventured over to a piece of PRL property with high hopes. I was not disappointed as our Uncle Ralph knows that we like our casual clobber covered in critters and he usually keeps his land stocked with a few. This season is no different. There are actually three different trousers that fit the bill. There are a pair of chinos with mallards (see here), a pair of slim jean style cords (see here) with pheasants (and hunters), and last, but not least a tasty pair of brown cords with both pheasants and mallards (see here).

All of these pants are priced between $145-165, but every hunter knows that a successful hunt is about understanding the virtue of patience and opportunity. For us this would be waiting for the perfect sale (they are all currently 25% off), but never forgetting that sometimes you only get one shot and you have to take it when it appears.

Mallard ChinosHunters on cords
More Brown Mallard CordsI can’t think of a better way to welcome fall than by breaking out a pair of these on a Saturday afternoon. Some must have pumpkin flavored something to feel the full effect of fall, but for us trads a piece of clothing embroidered with mallards is more our cup of tea.