All posts in Men’s Clothing Reviews

Where Have All the Chinos Gone?

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I am not one to howl at the moon. Sure I have had my moments in the past, but after dressing trad-ish for the better part of 10 years I now know and accept that things will never be as they were. I am even okay with that. I am currently looking to replace my current set of chinos and I could use your help finding some option, because it has not been easy.
IMG_6679Here is what I am looking for when it comes to chinos. I want them to be flat-front, 100% cotton (that means no stretch), and to not have no-iron treatment. In terms of fit I would like a decent rise of about 11 inches and nothing too slim nor too wide (see above). I know that it doesn’t sounds too difficult on its face, but anyone of you that have been looking recently knows that it is.
IMG_5506If you are wondering what I have been wearing up until now that is a great question. I have been wearing J.Crew Essential chinos in classic since around 2008. Around 2014 they changed the fit name from classic to 1040. At some point in the last 1-2 years they stopped making the Essential version which was their dressier version and now only offer the broken-in version. I will give the broken-in fit a try, but I have my doubts.

My current list of potential chino sources are O’Connell’s Clothing, J.Press, Ralph Lauren, and J.Crew. I have tried O’Connell’s in the past and found them too wide, but both of us could have changed our desired look in that time. If any of you have any insight into specific models, feedback, etc. please do share!

Why Won’t My Collar Roll?

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Why won’t my collar roll? I can’t count how many times that I have been asked this question and it does not come without good reason. The perfect collar roll is one of the trad/ivy style features that we all chase. In this post I will go over the two most common issues that I come across when analyzing that roll.

IMG_8509If you are are here and asking this question you already know what collar roll is. For those of you that don’t know check out my “What is Collar Roll?” post that I did way back when. Basically collar roll is that mesmerizing arch created by a tie and a button-down collar.

1. Your shirt is too big.

This is by and far the biggest reason that I see when people ask why their collar does not roll. It is also something that I have a lot of personal experience with. In order for the collar to roll the collar must be snug. Not so tight that you can’t get a two fingers between the shirt and your neck, but almost no more room than that. It is the pressure between, the tie, the shirt, and your neck that forces that roll. If there is too much space or material between the collar of the shirt and your neck it will not create the tension required.

Collar Roll Example

2. Your collar is too short.

I have found that any collar point length under 3.25″ is going to be a challenge to get to roll. The reason is that there is not enough material to get over the tie knot and roll. You could have all the pressure in the world here, but if there is not enough actual material to roll you are out of luck.

These are the top two reasons that I see time after time when asked about collar roll. This is not to say that these are the only issues. Even when you get the perfect fitting shirt you may run into some issues. If this does happen try the solution suggested by Charlie Davidson of the famed Andover Shop (Thanks, Blucher Moc!) which is to move the buttons a little bit (See here). Whatever the type of collar roll you are after I hope this helps you get there!

The University Flap Pocket

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The flap pocket OCBD is a hallmark of the trad and ivy looks. Those in the know tend to know that if you are wearing a flap pocket that you know what you are you doing. We know that the shirt probably comes from J.Press or is a custom OCBD with a wink and nod to Press. I myself am a fan of the flap pocket, but not necessarily on the standard blue OCBD.

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While I own several flap pocket OCBDs there is one that I wear more than any other. That one is a red university striped shirt. There is something very unique about the pairing of the university stripe which is sometimes called a candy stripe with a flap pocket. It can’t put my finger on it, but it just works. While I love my red one I think that it would work well in blue, pink, or any other color that you can get your hands on.

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Here is why I don’t love my blue OCBDs with flap pockets. Before I say this please know that is very unique to my specific look and that I have the utmost respect for those in the armed services. I find that these shirts look a little military on me. Again this has to do with the haircut, my build, and potentially something else that I am unaware of and it’s not just me. I have been asked several times while wearing this shirt if I am a military man (often Air Force for some reason?). If you are not as clean cut looking as me this may never ever be an issue for you. In fact if you are not very clean cut the flap pocket will look even cooler on you like I think they do on me when I have my beard.

I picked up my red university stripe OCBD at Michael Spencer. However, I think that you should be able to recreate this shirt at any of the custom spots such as Ratio, Mercer, and probably quite few others that I am leaving out. The funny thing is that while my shirt is definitely a nod to J.Press it is not available there. They only offer their flaps in solid colors.

Lay of the Land

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There is going to be a decrease in pictures of me in ties, blazers, and sport coats. I hope that this temporary, but only time will tell. Wondering why? Well the reason is that I started a new job last week.

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I have written about this before, but it’s worth revisiting. Ties,┬áblazers, and sport coats are tricky in the modern office. This is especially true when you are not upper management. There are all kinds of connotations and associations that go along with these items and while that is not necessarily your problem you may feel the consequences.

My advice is to play it safe. Take stock of who wears what and try to understand the office norms. If ties are the standard you are golden. If no one wears ties including all of the directors and VPs it may be best to hold off until you have established yourself. Of course you can always throw caution to the wind, but you may end up keeping your tie and losing your job.

So for the meantime I will be in my basic uniform of blue OCBD, plain-front khaki chinos, penny loafers, and olive surcingle. Luckily for me I am okay with that. In a couple of weeks I might wear a blazer with no tie as outerwear to the office just to ease into it. Oh, and the office runs cold so lots of Shetlands ;).

SailBoats, Whales, & Guatemala?

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I picked up a new surcingle belt and the design is not the most typical. Generally you will find surcingle belts embroidered with nautical themes, preppy animals, or preppy sports themes. None of these things are bad, I wear them myself, but sometimes you want something a little different. Cue the belt.

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I loved this Guatemalan design with dogs (link here) the moment I saw it. I posted it in on one of my Instagram stories and I got a ton of questions about it so I knew I was not alone in my admiration. I thought that this belt would be a great way to add some color to my outfits. I knew that it would look great with olive chinos as well as the standard khaki/blue OCBD combo. Along with adding color I thought it was a nice way to break up my standard look and add a little bit of individuality into the mix.

I got this belt at Leather Man on the Eliza B site (see here). In my opinion it is a steal at $42. Leather Man is my de facto place to get belts. If this belt does not do it for you they have you covered as they have plenty of others.