All posts in Men’s Clothing Reviews

Shetland Market Watch

Shetland Bubble Burst

This season’s Shaggy Dogs have dropped over at J.Press, but the prices have not. Staying true to their street name Squeeze is putting exactly that upon us Shetland loving trads for a total of $245. How soon they will surpass the $300 mark?

I am starting to wonder if this market has a ceiling. I don’t remember the prices last year, but over the past decade Shetland prices appear to have soared to all-time highs. I wonder if we will see the Shetland market bubble burst in the near future or if they will only become more rare?

This price is far outside of my normal comfort range. I say normal, because I have nickel and dimed way to a substantial store credit. This is due to the ever-beloved no refunds on items on sale more than 25%. That is all to say that a dog may have followed me home.
J.Press Real Shaggy Dog

 

 

Shetlands Sightings Fall 2015

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The other week I posted about a Mallard sweater over at Brooks Brothers Red Fleece line. Since then I have been patiently waiting for Brooks Brothers to roll out the rest of their Shetlands along with J.Press and their Shaggy Dogs. O’Connell’s on the other hand always has their Shetlands on display. All of the Shetlands I just mentioned are in the $150 and up range. However, I spotted two crewneck Shetlands in the sub-$100 market which is a rarity these days. So where are these Shetlands you ask.
Woolrich Shetland1. Men’s Kennebeck Shetland Wool Sweater ($89). This Shetland has the ever desirable saddle shoulder and comes in three heather colors (Olive, Charcoal, and Brown). It is described as lightweight with a fine 5 gauge knit. I don’t know how fine this is, but it was nice of them to list it. Overall it is a good looking Shetland. The collar does look a little bulky, but at $89 this could worth overlooking.
Pendleton Shetland

2. Next up is a Shetland Washable Crewneck from Pendleton. It too is $89, but it does not have saddle shoulders. On the plus side it is available in 9 colors and claims to be machine washable. This does make me question if the wool is Shetland, but it is a nice looking sweater. I am tempted to grab one of these.
Uniqlo Sweater
3. I didn’t mention it above, but I also found a third option from Uniqlo. Now this crewneck sweater is not Shetland, but Lambswool (See it here: Lambswool Crewneck Sweater). However, it features a crewneck, saddle shoulders, and it is only $29.99.  This could be a good deal for students on a tight budget or the frugal among this. The questions becomes, will they hold up?

I am sure that we will see more crewneck Shetlands appear as fall draws nearer. It will be interesting to see if this year’s Brooks Brothers Shetlands will have logos like last year’s batch or if they have heard the outcry from the logo-less crowd. I am also interested in seeing the price of this year’s Shaggy Dogs. The price of Shetlands of has steadily increased over the years which is why I was pleasantly surprised to see a few priced under $100. The real question is what color to get this year?

Triple Patch Threat

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Lately, I have been doing a lot less thrifting. It is not that I have lost any love for the thrift, but overtime I have learned that it does not have the best ROI for me. However, I did get my hands on the traddest of the trad blazers from a thrift run, just not my own (shout out to Preservation Thrift!).
Triple Patch Pocket DetailWhen I say, “traddest of the trad,” I am referring to the triple-patch pocket blazer. For those that are wondering what a patch pocket is. It is a lot like what it sounds like, a patch. Patch pockets are sewn on the outside of the garment rather than sewn between the shell and the lining. This gives the jacket a more casual look than jetted pockets.

The patch pocket on the chest is what makes this blazer special. While you may find patch pockets on the chest of very casual unstructured blazer à la the Keydge it is rare to see one on a business oriented blazer outside of traditional American style strongholds like J.Press or O’Connells.
Triple Patch Pocket BlazerThis specific blazer comes from Brooks Brothers University Shop line. I am not sure when the University Shop line was introduced and when it ceased to exist. I have heard that it existed from the 60s-70s, but I could not verify this. I would appreciate any insight that you Brooks aficionados can provide.

This post should inspire hope in all you thrifters. Even you weekend thrifters like me. While I have cut back on my time in the trenches this find illustrates that there are still treasures out there. Even treasures in my size.

Mallard Madness at Red Fleece

Mallard Madness

The end of summer is in sight. Hot and humid days will soon give way to cool fall days just as seersucker shorts with nautical motifs will turn to wide-wale cords littered with water fowl and woodland creatures. This is a change that I am happy to embrace and one that Red Fleece is currently rolling out.
Duck SweaterBrowsing Brooks Brothers Red Fleece Line (younger & slimmer with a neo-prep tendencies) this week I spotted a few mallard emblazoned items in the new arrival bin. I am a sucker for a duck motif, but so far have limited this love to my ties (I Don’t Give a Duck). However, I am tempted by the Red Fleece blue lambswool duck intarsia sweater (see here). They also have a tie (here) and a sport shirt (here), but the sweater is the stand out of the bunch. I only wish the ducks on the sweater were a touch smaller (and the tie a tad wider).

I expect to see more motifs coming out of the woods soon along with the traditional cords, shetlands, and tweed. In anticipation for fall, the season of Trad I leave you with these words from the OPH on the subject of ducks.

 STRAIGHT FROM THE OPH – THE DUCK MOTIF

The duck is the most beloved of all totems. The duck suggests hunting,  water,  Maine – all the things worth thinking about. The basic duck is the mallard. The most common view of the duck is silhouette, although the duck in flight runs a close second. Three-dimensional decoys are nearly as popular and may appear as lamp bases, planters, doorstops, candlesticks, and paper weights.  Ducks themselves – real ducks – may be of little interest. It is the representation of the duck that counts. And the less the object has to do with ducks, the more it cries out for duck adornment. Ducks are stenciled, engraved, embroidered. Embossed, debossed, appliqued, mounted, and otherwise emblazoned on wood, brass, fabric, leather. silver, glass, crystal – anything.

My Wash ‘n’ Wear Blazer

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After what feels like weeks and weeks of cooler than normal temperatures the warm days of summer have returned. While this great for leisure activities it can make wearing a sport coat or blazer a little challenging. This is the type where my Brooks Brothers Wash ‘n’ Wear blazer gets a lot of action.
Poplin BlazerFirs off, what is Wash ‘n’ Wear (or Wash and Wear)? Wash ‘n’ Wear fabric is composed of either a poplin, seersucker, or wool blend. While the poly aspect of the fabric seems to fly in the face of the trad ethos it has been included in the canon. The blend has 3 major benefits. It is wears well in warm weather, stays wrinkle free, and it can be machine washed. According to this New York Times (Wash it, Wear, it) article it surfaced around 1953.
Wash and WearWash ‘n’ Wear fabric was primarily used for suits (based on the second-hand market) which has one thing that has always intrigued me about my blazer. The blazer came to me via the second-hand market, but I had always believed it to be a blazer. I believed this because of its blazer like features (gold buttons, two-button cuffs, patch pockets, swelled edges), but it turns out that I was wrong.
Brooks Brothers Wash n Wear BlazerIn an email exchange with the previous owner I learned the true origin of the blazer. It was purchased as part of a suit from Brooks Brothers in the early/mid-1990s. At some point the pants shrunk. The owner then converted it to a blazer by adding gold buttons, because it had all the features including the two button cuffs which were his call.

I now know the origin of my blazer, confirmed that trad was alive and well in the 90s, but I did not answer the questions that inspired this post, “Is it standard for cotton blazers to have gold buttons?”