All posts in Men’s Clothing Reviews

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.

Measurements of Brooks Brothers OCBDs over the Years

1960 Brooks Brothers OCBD

Ivy Style enthusiast Farrago has put together a great post over at Talk Ivy providing measurements of Brooks Brothers OCBDs ranging from the 1960s up to the recently updated 2016 OCBD. These are the types of posts that keep forums going. He was kind enough to allow me to repost this great information over here.

As promised, I got around to combing through the museum. I took measurements on the collars, chest, and length (back and front). I weighed the shirts as well. Apologies for my usual poor photos.
1960 Brooks Brothers OCBD

1960’s Brooks Brothers White OCBD

No pocket. Purple label without care instructions. 6 button front . Gussets on the sides. Note the collar length of this shirt.
Collar: 3 ”
Weight: 10.51 oz.
Chest: 24 1/4″
Front: 30 ”
Back: 32 ”
1970 Brooks Brothers OCBD

1970’s Brooks Brothers Yellow OCBD

Pocket. Red label without care instructions. 6 button front.
Collar: 3 7/16″
Weight: 12.28 oz.
Chest: 25 1/4″
Front: 28 1/4 ”
Back: 31 1/2 ”
1980 Brooks Brothers OCBD

Late 1980’s Brooks Brothers Blue Blazer Stripe OCBD

7 button front.
Collar: 3 3/8″
Weight: 11.96 oz.
Chest: 25 ”
Front: 30 1/2 ”
Back: 31 1/2 ”
Early 1990s Brooks Brothers OCBD

Early 1990’s Brooks Brothers Yellow w/ Blue Track Stripe OCBD

7 button front.
Collar: 3 1/4″
Weight: 11.22 oz.
Chest: 24 3/4 ”
Front: 28 3/4 ”
Back: 30  ”

Mid 1990s Brooks Brothers OCBD

Mid 1990’s Brooks Brothers Ecru OCBD

7 button front.
Collar: 3 3/8″
Weight: 12.10 oz.
Chest: 24 1/4 ”
Front: 28 1/4 ”
Back: 30 1/2  ”
2008 Brooks Brothers OCBD

2008 Brooks Brothers Pink OCBD

7 button front. Lined. Note the weight.
Collar: 3 3/8″
Weight: 13.76 oz.
Chest: 24 1/2 ”
Front: 29 1/2 ”
Back: 31 1/4  ”

2016 Brooks Brothers OCBD

2016 Brooks Brothers Helio Stripe OCBD

7 button front. Gussets. No pocket. The Madison cut is the nearest to the now discontinued Traditional cut.
Collar: 3 7/16″
Weight: 12.14 oz.
Chest: 23 1/2 ”
Front: 28  ”
Back: 30 1/4  “

The Sweater Showdown: J.Press Shaggy Dog vs. Polo Brushed Sweater

JPress vs PRL Brushed Sweaters

The title says it all, but I will provide a little background. Even though I had just recently purchased a Shaggy Dog sweater from J.Press I added another brushed sweater to my closet. This sweater is a brushed Shetland/Lambswool/Cashmere blend from Polo Ralph Lauren. These sweaters are both currently available so I thought that a review would be useful for those with a brushed sweater on their want list.

J.Press Shaggy Dog Pros & Cons
Shaggy DogPros

  • Impressive Brushed Quality
  • Warm
  • Well Made

Cons

  • Thick
  • Expensive
  • Maybe Too Warm

Polo Ralph Lauren Brushed Sweater Pros & Cons
PRL Brushed Sweater
Pros

  • Soft
  • Nice Brushed Quality
  • Well Made

Cons

  • Thin
  • Delicate
  • Expensive

As you can see from the Pros/Cons list above each sweater has its own advantages. The Shaggy Dog is iconic, incredibly warm, and has a thick brushed appearance. On the flip side, it may be too warm to wear in most indoor scenarios (luckily, my office is often freezing.) and the thick texture may make one feel like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. It is about 2-3 x as thick as the PRL sweater (You can see the height difference in the top picture.)

The PRL sweater is beautiful looking sweater with a very soft hand, but at first I thought that it might be too delicate for my style. It is also a little thin for what I expect from a brushed sweater. However, the brushed appearance gives the garment just enough texture for me to get over the delicate debate.

Both sweaters are priced pretty high at $265, but they are also both on sale at this time. The Shaggy dog is currently $183.65(see here) and the PRL sweater is $149.99 (see here). They also both have a place in my closet. If you are looking for more brushed options Derek from Put This On put a nice list together (check it out here).

Pink, Grey, & Patterns: A Look in Review

Featured Image

I rarely post a what I wear on a regular basis unlike I do on my Instagram account (see here), but as I have said before one of the best ways to learn is by watching others. I people watch in real life and on the internet where I have found style mentors such as Billax (Wearing the Ivy League Look Since 1958). All of this watching has helped me learn how to put together a good looking rig (at least, every now and then). In fact, a rig that I wore the other week garnered so much positive feedback (both online & IRL) that I thought it was worth sharing.
Grey Tweed, Pink tie, and chinosGrey Tweed & Pink TieGant TieThere are a few reasons why I think that this outfit was a hit. One, is that I did not grab my typical striped tie, but instead reached for a beautiful medallion tie from Gant. Two, the tie is pink. This is not a color that I wear very often. Especially when it comes to ties. Third, the grey tweed sport coat besides having all the Ivy details has lines of blue and green running through it that work well with the tie. The final reason is that it all just works really well together.

Don’t Label me: No logos, brands, or pictures

TRAD LABEL

I am sure that I have mentioned this before, but I don’t wear clothing with logos, words, or graphic images. It has been about 10 years since I abandoned logo’d clothing (minus a few pieces of technical outerwear). There are lots of reasons why, but primarily it is because I want to be see as a person and not as a product of a brand, but this week I was tested. 
Striped SweaterAs I was finishing up some Christmas shopping I spotted a great sweater at Ralph Lauren. It was the striped sweater pictured above. I have been looking for a striped sweater for a while now and this one fit the bill. Great colors, perfect scale, and because I was at the Polo outlet I assumed a great price. The icing on the cake was that there was no polo horse.

I rushed over to the sweater only to realize that the iconic polo horse had been tucked away underneath of it. To make things worse the price was $49.99 with 40% off. In the world of Trad clothing that is essentially free. I stood there contemplating how I could make it work. Would it be possible to remove the embroidered logo? Would it be the worst thing if I wore a logo’d sweater outside of the office? Could I make an exception this one time?

Ultimately, I decided to pass on the sweater. Now that I am back home and the decision has been made I am glad that I stuck to my guns. This experience was a good one as it gave me a reason to reevaluate my stance on logos. It also gave me a nice sweater to share with those who don’t have logo issues.