All posts in Men’s Clothing Reviews

The Patch & Flap

flap-patch

If you thought that this post was going to be about the iconic J.Press patch and flap pocket know that it was a good guess. I actually won’t be talking shirts at all. What I will be talking about is why I am a big proponent for patch and flap pockets on sport coats and blazers.

Patch and flap pockets are a big part of the trad look. In terms of importance they are up there right along with the 3/2 roll and being dart-less, but are probably more akin to center vents versus hooked vents in that they are one of the more negotiable elements in the trad cannon.

Before I dive into why I am a such big fan I will get everyone up to speed on patch and flap pockets. When it comes to suits and sport coats there are basically two types of pockets. There is the jetted and the patch. If a jacket has jetted pockets the only visible part of the pocket will be the horizontal line of the pocket opening. This is the more formal of the two pocket types.

Patch pockets are the less formal and are almost exclusively found on sport coats/blazers. The patch pocket is exactly what it sounds like which is a patch of fabric that has been attached to the jacket. This technique leaves a visible outline of the pocket. Being that it is the least formal it should come of no surprise that it is also the most trad pocket.

Not only am I fan of the patch pocket I am also a fan of the flap pocket. The flap is attached above the pocket allowing for the pocket to be closed. It should be noted that not all patch pockets have flaps. In all honesty I am not a fan of flap-less patch pockets. They look unfinished or incomplete to my eye like a pair of chinos without a cuff.

Fall 1981 Grey Herringbone Sport Coat
An Example of Jetted Pockets with Flaps

Grey Herringbone Sack Sport JacketAn Example of Patch and Flap Pockets

In short, I am an advocate for these pockets because look more casual than jetted pockets. They look sporty and dare I even say a little rugged. As we all know we live an increasingly causal world. This can be a challenge for those of us that prefer a little more formality in our attire. This is where patch and flap pockets become your friend.

Trad Cold Weather Accessories: The Tartan Scarf

scarf-post

Men are often left out in the cold when it comes to accessories, but the colder it gets the more we gain. As we add layers for the additional chill in the air we start with a sweater then add a coat next up comes the hat, gloves, and scarf combo. I will start with one of my favorite cold weather accessories the scarf.

When it comes to trad scarves there are essentially three choices. There are solid scarves, school boy scarves (think regimental stripes), and tartan scarves. I have at least one of each style, but I overwhelmingly favor tartan patterns. I have added a few pictures below of my growing tartan scarf collection.

If you are wondering where I got all these scarfs I will tell you. They were either gifts, purchased at deep discount, or found on the second market. Scarves make great gifts as sizing is relatively easy and one can never have too many. Also, like all shopping, it is a lot less expensive to purchase off-season or end of season. Last , but definitely not least the scarf is one of the few items that I suggest shopping for on the second hand market. Again, the one-size fits makes them easy to source. Just be to sure to drop it off at the dry cleaner before taking it home!

I haven’t had the chance to wear one of scarves yet, but I know that I will get the opportunity soon enough. Which means that this is the right time to start taking stock of your winter accessories so that you are prepared when the time comes. Don’t get caught out in the cold without one!

Tartan Scarf 1
Tartan Scarf 5
Tartan Scarf 6
Tartan Scarf 4
Tartan Scarf 2
Tartan Scarf 3
Tartan Scarf 6

The Dress Gordon Tartan Shirt

Dress Gordon Tartan

I love my Dress Gordon Tartan shirts. It might just be my favorite Tartan (at least for shirts.). That is saying something because there a lot of great tartan patterns out there. As it turns out I am not alone in my fondness for this tartan. I say this, because almost every single time I wear it someone either tells me how much they like it or asks where they can get one.

This week I pulled together a list of where you can currently find a Dress Gordon Tartan shirt. This list is a mixed bag of alpha sized sport shirts, flannel, and twill with prices ranging from affordable to expensive. I even includes a few non-iron options, and to round it out number 5 isn’t even Dress Gordon!

1. L.L. Bean Wrinkle-Free Mini-Tartan Shirt, Traditional Fit –  Dress Gordon ($49.95)

l-bean-dress-gordon-shirt

2. Brooks Brothers – Non-Iron Madison Fit – Dress Gordon Tartan Sport Shirt ($120)

brooks-brothers-dress-gordon

3. Scotch Plaid Flannel Shirt, Traditional Fit – Navy Tartan ($44.95)

ll-bean-dress-gordon-flannel-shirt

4. Mercer & Son’s Broadcloth – Dress Gordon ($155)

Gordon Broadcloth

 

5. No Iron Supima Pinpoint Buttondown Collar – Modern Campbell Dress Tartan ($55)
lands-end-modern-campbell-shirt

 

Shawl Collar & Ties

Shawl Collar & Tie

I get quite a few questions from guys that want to wear ties to the office, but are concerned that sporting a sport coat will draw too much attention. My go to recommendation for these scenarios is to suggest wearing a tie with a shawl collar sweater. In the recent weeks I have had several emails asking me this exact question which made me think that re-posting my “Shawl Collar Sweater with a Tie” post is a good idea. Without further ado, here it is (with a few additional images added at the end).

Shawl Collar with a Tie

I have been wearing a tie and jacket to work twice a week for over two years. When I began I was asked all the usual questions about meetings, job interviews, yada yada yada (Inspired by my trad-ish friend George Costanza). Those days are now in the distant past and my tie wearing ways now go unnoticed. During the course of the last two years I have tried quite a few different combinations and I have found that wearing a tie with a shawl collar sweater may be the easiest way to wear a tie in a business casual office.

What do I mean by easy? What I mean is that it will not elicit as many unwanted comments about why you are wearing a tie (at least it did not in my experience). This is probably because a sweater is much more informal than a blazer or sport coat, but also because the tie is mostly covered with a sweater so that it does not garner the same amount of attention that it would when worn with a jacket. Instead only a glimpse of the tie is given which is the perfect opportunity to wear an interesting emblematic ties such these: Ivy League Humor.
Shawl Collar Sweater with a tie and corduroysDuck Tie and CordsNot only does it make wearing a tie easy, but it looks good too. In general, I am not a fan of the sweater and tie look. I don’t love ties with a crewneck, because there is rarely any tie exposure and the knot usually makes the neck lay funny. A V-neck Shetland can look good, but the shawl collar’s strength is that it provides a background for the tie that is similar to the lapel of a jacket.
Shawl Collar Sweater and Tie with grey wool pantsBrooksgate neat tieIn preparation for this post I wore this look twice last week.  The first time I wore it with cords and a wool-silk emblematic tie with ducks. I was very comfortable in this look. In my second example I went for a more urbane look. I wore grey wool pants and an old silk Brooksgate neat tie. Overall I found the sweater to be versatile.

The shawl collar is a good option for when you want to wear a tie in a business-casual setting such as an office or a nicer restaurant, but not a jacket. So, If you were contemplating wearing a shawl collar sweater and a tie I say go for it. If you want to wear a tie to your office, but are put off by the fuss it will receive try sneaking one in under a shawl collar sweater. If you want some cover for your Chipp FU tie it could be for you as well!

 

Additional Images

Shawl Collar & Tieshawl-foximg_8291img_4697img_2758

 

 

Fall Foulards

Giacoma tie close up

The leaves are turning, the temps are dropping, and you can order a pumpkin flavored anything. Fall is finally here and everyone is excited. For us trads, it is not so much the previous mentioned items as it is the return of layering, Shetland sweaters, and tweeds to mention a few. One item that I am especially excited for are foulard ties.
RedGreen Neat TiesTweed and TieA Foulard (also called a neat) is a symmetrical pattern that consists of small-scale repeating shapes such as diamonds, dots, medallions, pines, and of course flowers. A foulard is technically a kind of light weight silk, but today the term is used interchangeably with neat.
Red and Yellow Foulard TieBrooksgate neat tie
Foulards are not strictly for fall/winter items. However, I find them to be a better fit for myself with a tweed than in the summer with a blazer and chinos. I do break them out if I am wearing grey wool trousers and blazer. If I had a chance to wear suits this would be another occasion to break out the foulards. Until then I will just enjoy them when the weather turn cool bringing out the tweeds and cords.

 

 

A Few More Foulard Ties 

TieCollection-PatternClose-upYSL Foulard TieGreen and Red Flower Neat TieGrey tweed, yellow tie, and university striped shirt