All posts in Men’s Clothing Reviews

Going Green Part 3: Dreaming Green


As I alluded to in Going Green Part 1 and my Dream Draft Wardrobe post I have a thing for olive corduroy jackets. I am not sure exactly what it is about them that calls to me, but they do. It could be the subtle yet distinctive color of olive or the softness of corduroy combined with the slouch of a soft-shouldered sack. Whatever the case may be it is an item that is high on my want list.
Olive Corduroy Sport CoatA few weeks back I spotted a fantastic example of an olive corduroy sport coat (see above). It was being auctioned on Ebay so I put this post on ice as I did not want to put extra eyes on it. The last thing I wanted to do was to have some poor trad’s heart broken when he was sniped at the last second, because of my post. Luckily for him it was not my size.

I saved this image primarily for myself. I will use it to remind me to stay focused on acquiring the pieces that I truly want instead of buying items that are close, but are on sale and available. I may also have to use it as a reference when I eventually break down and have something like this made, but mine will have patch pockets. For now I will just dream.

All in Together Now


Earlier this week while I was wearing the look pictured here I realized that what I was wearing was the result of several blog posts. I did not have this blog post in mind when I assembled the rig. I was merely excited to break the new-to-me green tie.
FruitionThe top half of the look contains references to two blog posts. As I mentioned above, the most notable is the green tie that I very recently featured in Going Green Part 1. This was its first outing and while some my find the combination too bold I enjoyed the tie immensely. The tie and shirt combination illustrates my fondness for wearing striped shirts with striped ties which I posted about as well (see here).
Green Tie & BlazerThe third and last post brought to life in this picture is about solid surcingles. I have learned over time that solid surcingles provide the best bang for the buck for me. While striped surcingles may be more fun I don’t wear them very often. On the other hand I will wear a solid surcingle everyday of the week (Solid Surcingle Post). In the that post I mentioned that my next purchase would be a natural colored surcingle. I purchased a natural one from Leatherman belts, but quickly learned that it was khaki that I was after. You can see my new khaki surcingle below.
Khaki SurcingleI like several things about this look. It is simple, but still interesting. It is formal enough for today’s dress codes, but still very casual. It embodies so many of the reasons why I am drawn to traditional American style.

Going Green Part 2: The Green Sweater

Shaggy Dog Sweater

In my last Going Green post I focused on ties, but this post moves away from green accessorizes and onto the wardrobe staple that is the Shetland sweater. I already have a forest green Shetland and get a lot of use out it it. This year I decided to invest in a new green sweater.
Green Shaggy Dog SweaterI mentioned not too long ago that I may have purchased a Shaggy Dog sweater from J.Press. In spite of the all time high prices of Shetlands, I did. I ordered a blue-green Shaggy Dog which I thought was going to be more green than blue, but that is not the case. While it is not the color that I was hoping for ( I was hoping for that light green that Ralph Lauren does so well.) it is a beautiful sweater with gorgeous color variation.

As for the sweater itself…It is a warm one. It is by far the warmest sweater that I own. The thickness is not immediately apparent until you take a look at the cuffs when turned back (,as I wear all of my sweaters). They look enormous. It is then that you realize just why it is so warm.

I found sizing to be a little tricky. I purchased a small and it was too large. More than anything it was too long in the sleeves and torso. I exchanged it for an XS and although I was worried it would be too small the fit turned out to be spot on. The XS fit like a true small.

I am happy to add this green sweater to the collection. I can already tell that it will get a lot of action on very cold days and will most likely be my number one choice for outdoor adventures this winter. The soft blue-green color will help to add a little color to the dark grey days of winter that lay ahead.

Michael Spencer OCBD Review

Michael Spencer OCBD

This week on the OCBD blog we have a Michael Spencer OCBD review from occasional commenter Steve. Michael Spencer is an advertiser here, but this post was neither paid for or promised, but comes from the truest place. Steve told me that he is not associated with Michael-Spencer, paid for his own shirt, and that the reason he wanted to review this shirt is to, “preserve an option that works for me so I’d like to see this business survive, and if my comments can help achieve that I’ll have been rewarded.” You can check out the Michael Spencer website here: Michael Spencer

Not all that long ago it was easy to keep a stock of well made, traditionally-styled OCBDs on hand.  If one wore out, became irremediably stained, or sustained a catastrophic accident at the laundry, it could readily be replaced.  Those days appear to be gone.

Taste is subjective so it’s a matter of opinion whether the changes Brooks Brothers have made to their OCBD, perhaps their single most iconic product, are for better or worse.  But changes there have surely been, changes that render the shirt less distinctive and desirable for many men.  Nowadays, a man wanting an OCBD made of quality fabric and featuring historically stylish collar points (and, even better, an unlined and unfused collar) must look elsewhere.  And pay a premium price into the bargain.  One source for for such shirts — with many satisfied customers — features a self-described “generous cut” that unfortunately isn’t for every taste or body type.
Michael Spencer & Brooks Brothers OCBDThat’s where Michael-Spencer, a recently launched enterprise, comes in.  M-S offers traditionally-styled Oxford cloth shirts made in North Carolina (by the same factory that makes BB shirts).  What makes the M-S shirts different is that they can be customized in a wealth of different ways, none of which incur additional cost.  For example, the shirts are available in three different fits ranging from a semi-slim cut to truly copious.  Assuming that the chosen fit accurately complements the wearer’s actual physiognomy, none of them can be called “tight.”  On a personal note: I am 6’ tall, 165 lbs., size 39, and the “Modern” fit, 15-1/2” x 34” shirts I’ve acquired are comfortable and tailored in appearance but still present an appropriate touch of rumpling.  All that’s missing is the wad of excess fabric at the back of my waist that is present in shirts that seem fashioned for huskier builds.

The M-S collars are 100% traditional: they are described on the company’s website as featuring “3-1/2” of cascading cloth,” and that’s perfectly accurate.  (Current production BB collar points are 3-1/4” long — down from 3-3/8” just a couple of years ago — and while 1/4” sounds insignificant, in fact it makes a pretty big difference.)  The unfused, unlined versions are not just stylish but soft and relaxed as well.  Other no-charge options include accoutrements such as locker loops, split yokes, flap pockets, and several cuff configurations.  Moreover, hard to fit individuals can select personalized sizing (neck and separate sleeves) in 1/4” increments.

All this comes at a cost, of course.  The financial blow is softened somewhat by the fact that shipping is included in the price and no sales tax is incurred.  An additional, and not unimportant, bonus is the exemplary customer service that accompanies a purchase.  Something about my first order got lost in translation (at the factory): sizing was way off.  The problems were personally and expeditiously addressed by Spencer Bennett, owner of the company.  If my own experience is any indication, he will spend as much time as needed guiding a customer to the right choices.

It’s not a question of “can,” but rather “would” the world want to go without the traditional OCBDs that have been around for as long as anyone reading this has been buying clothes?  Many of the historical makers have given up; it’s nice to see that the baton is being passed, not simply dropped.

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.