All posts in Men’s Clothing Reviews

Sweater Check 1, 2

Salmon Spirit of Shetland Sweater

 

Summer isn’t even over and I have already dipped into my cedar chest for a Shetland. While I was fishing out my Shetland I decided to take inventory before I let the season get ahead of me (as it almost always does). I generally purchase one new sweater each fall and I knew that I needed to get a better sense of where the holes are in my collection before placing an order. Below are pictures of my current lineup.
Salmon Spirit of Shetland
Burgundy Shaggy SweaterGreen Shaggy Shetland
Light Blue Brooks Brother Shetland SweaterLight Grey J.Crew Lambswool sweaterNavy Lambswool SweaterNavy Shawl Collar SweaterOatmeal Shetland Sweater
Light Grey J.Crew Lambswool sweaterCharcoal Cable Knit SweaterMid Grey Lambswool SweaterNavy and Burgundy Birds Eye SweaterIrish Fisherman Aran Sweater

The results are in and this year’s color selection is charcoal. I missed out on purchasing a sweater last year when Brooks Brothers decided to add logos to their Shetlands and I didn’t have quite enough scratch for one from O’Connell’s Clothing, but this year I have a store credit or two to put to good use and I am looking forward to doing so.

Singing the Thrift Store Blues

Bostonian Crown Windsor Tassels

I recently came across a shoe that on the second-hand market that I have been pining over for a long time. This shoe is none other than the cordovan tassel loafer. The only problem was one that all of my thrifters, Ebay scourers, and other experts of the second-hand/vintage clothing markets can relate. Will they fit?
Tassel LoafersCrown WindsorsThis specific pair of tassels are Crown Windsors made by Bostonian. These tassels are not from the current iteration of Bostonian, but rather from an era when their quality was on par with Allen Edmonds and Alden. This specific pair was being advertised as having not been worn outside, but after taking a close look at the sellers pics I believed them to be new old stock (NOS). The quality, condition, and price (when compared with a new a pair) made them very very attractive to me.

My first move was to do some due diligence. I contacted a man of many tassels that I know and sought his counsel. He could not provide me with any fit information in regard to vintage Bostonian tassels, but he did have other pairs of vintage Bostonians and sent me what info he had. I did some more research on the web and in the end I felt the odds were in my favor. I pulled the trigger.
Genuine Shell CordovanBostonian Crown WindsorWhen the shoes arrived they were in spectacular condition. I now fully believe that they have never been worn before at all, inside or outside. I was enamored, but the moment of truth was here. Try on time. They fit a tad big, but I was still hopeful that after a full day of breaking them in that they would work for me. I was wrong. They slipped all day and were even painful. I was and still am crushed.

This sad story is one that I know many of you have experienced. It is also why I am weary of the second-hand/vintage market. While I can certainly get my money back out of them it involves me reselling them which in my opinion is a form of torture. Moving forward I will be purchasing less and less from this market as I can afford it, but for now I will just sing you my thrift store blues.

More Tie Talk: Lands’ End

Featured Image

I have been critical of Lands’ End in the past primarily because of issues related to consistency (The Land Ends Ahead), but they do some things well and one of those things is ties. Outside of thrift stores Lands’ End is always one of the first places that I suggest to a young trad looking to build a tie collection. They have very fair prices, a 30% off sale is always just around the corner, and their selection consists of regimental stripes, neats, knits, emblematics, as well all other trad staples.

This fall’s lineup is no different. In addition to their standard selection of wide stripes Lands’ End is offering a great Lord Taveners regimental stripe that I passed up at J.Press (3 stripes of Equality), an emblematic pheasant tie in deep olive, and a very attractive flower neat in wool. Whether you are trying to cover the basics or just looking to add a something new to the collection Lands’ End is worth a visit.
Lord Taveners TiesPheasant TieRoyal Marines TieWool Kissing Stripe TieWool Flower Neat tie

Bills’ Two Button Sack in Harris Tweed

Brown Check

Bills Khakis’ latest offerings include the rare triple patch pocket sack sport coat in Harris Tweed. What makes this jacket even more unique than all the other 3 patch pocket sposrt coats our there is that this is a 2-button sack. This is not an unheard configuration (It is actually a feature that is synonymous with the Andover Shop), but is less common that the 3/2 sack if that tells you anything.

This jacket comes in at just under $1,000 and is offered in two different Harris Tweeds. While not cheap the price is in line with competitors offering Harris Tweed (these are probably from Southwick) in a sack cut. I was encouraged when I saw these jackets. It gives me hope that the sack jacket will be around as long as I am. Take a closer look here: http://www.billskhakis.com/harris-tweed
Bills Brown Check 2 button sackBills Herringbone 2 button tweed sack

Size Matters: Collar Points & Tie Widths

The difference between a full size healthy collar that produces a wonderful roll and a collar that can barely accommodate a tie is minimal. I am talking less than 1 inch. In fact, most of my collars that produce a standard roll have collar points that measure 3.25”, but I do have a few shirts (new-ish LE Hyde Parks) that have 3” collar points, but produce zero roll. While a collar this size does not lend itself to wearing ties. It can be done. It just requires a little more thought.

The key is to match the proportions of your collar to your tie. This is no different from the consideration that you would give to tie width and lapel width. Getting the proportions right between these three elements (Collar length, tie width, and lapel width) will allow you to wear some of the skinnier or wider items in your closet with a little more ease.

3” Collar

Tie Width Range: 2.75″ – 3.25”
Optimal: 3”

A shirt with 3” collar points works best with ties that range from 2.75″-3”. A skinnier tie has a smaller knot which works to keep the proportions in check. You may be able to get away with a 3.25” tie, but I don’t recommend it. There will be no collar roll to speak of.
3 inch collar                                                                         3″ collar with a 2.75″ tie.

3.25” Collar

Tie Width Range: 3″ – 3.50”
Optimal: 3.25″

3.25” is the current standard for collar points. I say this because it is the size of the current Brooks Brothers OCBD which has always defined collar roll.  It is also the size of current J.Press OCBDs as well as the size of my older Land’s End Original Oxfords.
3.25 inch collar                                                                      3.25″ collar points with a 3″ tie.

3.5” Collar

Tie Width Range: 3.25″ – 3.75”
Optimal: 3.5″

Although the 3.5” collar is a rarity it does still exist primarily due to the demand of collar roll enthusiast. These shirts are usually vintage, bespoke or MTM. For example, Mercer and Son’s collars points measure 3.4375 inches. A collar this size will produce a full collar roll, but can still accommodate a 3.25” tie (with a sturdy knot). For those of you that have found that 3.5 – .3.75” ties work best for you (and collar roll fanatics!) may want to seek collar points of this length.
3.5 collar                                                                          3.5″ collar with a 3.25″ tie.

For many of us having a closet full of collar roll producing button-down shirts is the goal, but most if not all closets have a few underachievers. Hopefully this post can help you get some use out of your button-down shirts with shorter collar points as well as a way to wear that skinny tie that you just couldn’t resist.