All posts in Men’s Clothing Reviews

Ivy League Humor, Japanese Proverbs, & Ties

Pearls Before Swine

I thought that I had seen pretty much every humorous emblematic tie out there. Sure there might be 1 or 2 that have escaped me, but I have a good overall understanding of what is out there, or at least I thought that I did until I found Basarahadehiko’s Instagram account.

Basarahadehiko’s Instagram is where I learned that the Japanese have their own kind of novelty emblematic tie. These ties are based on Japanese proverbs. While many of the proverbs are well known others are uniquely Japanese, but the medium remains very American. The Ivy Style  inspiration is not limited to it being a tie, but also in the choice of animals, colors, and materials which adds to its charm.
Japanese Proverb TieJapanese Hare Proverb TieSaki TieHunting CurryWhen I asked about the origin of these ties I was stunned at the response. These ties were made primarily by J.Press and Brooks Brothers. I never knew. Humorous emblematic ties are nothing new to the Trad world (see Ivy League Humor) and neither is the Japanese interest in Trad, but this I had never seen or even heard about.

I have included a few samples of Basarahadehiko’s ties along with proverb in this post. This is only a small sampling. I encourage you to visit the Instagram account to see more.

Popover PSA

Gant Popover

The popover shirt is one of my favorite types of shirts to wear in the summer. A popover is a woven shirt with a placket that stops somewhere around the chest pocket. It looks a little nicer than a polo and because it can be found in very lightweight fabrics it is probably cooler to wear than most polo shirts. The last few years have seen a resurgence of popovers with everyone from J.Press to J.Crew including one in their summer roster.
                                                                 Blue Linen Popover (see here)

This year is no different except that there are some cheap options. Hence the PSA. I was looking for a popover to pick-up, but had not settled on one. I was actually shopping the Target site for porch accessories when I got sidetracked in the clothing section. This is where I found the $20 popover.

Navy Popover with red stripes (see here)White Linen Popover (see here)Camel Popover (see here)

Target currently offers 4 popovers in a linen/cotton blend for $19.99. The colors are blue, white, navy with red horizontal stripes, and a tan version that features camels (this one is only available in stores). My local Target closed recently so I had to order via the web. I purchased the blue version and the white version. I will know more when they arrive.

I thought that this popover deserved a PSA strictly from a pricing perspective. It is hard to pass on a $20 popover when most of the other popovers that I see go for 3 to 5 times the price. Now there are certainly going to be questions about quality and fit, but for $20 it may be worth rolling the dice. I thought that it did.

The 2016 Lands’ End Hyde Park Update

2016 Hyde Park OCBD

Every now and again I hear murmurs that Lands’ End has restored its Hyde Park OCBD to its former glory. Last week the internet chatter grew too loud for me to ignore with many, including an alleged Lands’ End CSR touting that the Hyde Park’s collar points were now 3 1/8”. Being one that needs to see it to believe it I placed an order.

I purchased a blue Hyde Park in traditional fit. Though the shirt is priced at $49 I was able to pick it up for half of that, because there is always a sale going on at Lands’ End. When I pulled the shirt out of the box I was cautiously optimistic. It looked as if there might be a little roll to the collar. I was excited. Could this mean that I can once again get an OCBD with a legitimate collar roll for under $50??? I went for the measuring tape.
2016 Hyde Park OCBD
I removed the shirt from its plastic wrapper, unbuttoned the collar, and got down to business. The results were what I had expected. No change, or at least not much change. The collar points measure 3”. This may be a bit longer than some of the 2014 reports that the collar was 2 ¾”, but not the 3 ¼” that they used to be.
Hyde Park OCBD Collar PointsI really did not expect Lands’ End to have returned its shirt to glory, but I was hopeful. I had told myself that maybe they were watching the sales of new old Brooks Brother OCBD which is reportedly selling well (I hear that it is selling well, but again “hear.”) and saw the opportunity to compete. I even had a more far fetched theory that they were just tired of having people from Ask Andy Trad calling in asking them to measure the collar points. It was neither. Just more of the same small collarness.

The Hyde Park is still a decent OCBD. If you have no need or desire to wear a tie it is a great option. However, if you are reading this blog chances are you know what you want and that is collar roll. There is no roll to be had here. Like most things that Lands’ End does today it is so close yet so far away.

The Summer Rugby

Kelly Green Rugby

During the summer I am usually only thinking of ways to stay cool, but the occasional cool summer night or chilly morning may call for long sleeves. Most of the time a simple OCBD or long sleeve Madras shirt will work just fine. If it is even cooler perhaps a cotton sweater or the classic grey sweatshirt will do. I have all of the above and use them regularly during the summer months. However, my rugby hoodie from Barbarian gets more wear than all of the the rest when the weather turns gross.
Barbarian RugbyI can’t say enough good things about this rugby. It is built to last. The construction is solid and the fabric is a nice hefty cotton that will soften up over time. Mine is currently entering the state where it is a dream to put it on similar to a well-worn OCBD or those chinos that you’ve owned so long that they now feel like sweatpants. The hood has come in handy plenty of times whether that be protecting my head from rain or myself from the world when I am not ready to deal with the morning.

I liked this rugby so much that I purchased another one just for warmer weather. What makes this one a little more summery than your average rugby are the colors. Green and blue are a classic color combination for trads in the summer. They can be found on everything from ties to ribbon belts. The green on this rugby takes it up a notch on the trad scale by using kelly green along with navy very similar to the Ralph Lauren ad below. The result is a nice brightly colored rugby that is ready for a morning coffee run or an evening walk.
Kelly Green Rugby
Green & Blue Striped RugbyThis weeks post also ties back to the, ‘Always & Forever (see here)’ post. I knew that I liked my Barbarian rugby and that I should order another while they are still around. In fact, when I purchased the rugby there was a note on the Barbarian website that said, ‘Some items in the store listing are not available.’  Lucky for me what I wanted was still in stock. For all I know the hefty all-cotton rugby shirt may be the next item on the endangered species list. Get them while the getting is good.

Brooks Brothers New OCBD Review by Fading Fast

Brooks-Brothers-new-polo-oxford-pocket

Lately there has been more talk than normal about Brooks Brothers OCBD. This is because Brooks recently made some significant changes to a shirt that many have come to know and love. Some of these changes such as the removing of the collar lining have collar roll enthusiast salivating while the price jump ($90 to $140) has prevented some from taking the plunge.

I have not purchased one of the new shirts for myself so I can’t speak to the specific pros and cons, but Ask Andy Trad member Fading Fast has and can. I offer up Fading Fast’s take on the shirt, because over time he has shown that he possesses a great temperament for such endeavors.

Thoughts from Fading Fast

My $140 list (paid $105) BB OCBD came and my early thought are:

Positives: Great feel to the material and the unlined collar and cuffs are spot on – what an OCBD should have. Nobody has a more definitive Oxford blue color than BB (which might be tautological) – it is the perfect tone. The mother-of-pearl buttons add to its understated quality.

Negatives: For me (and there is no right or wrong), the perfect OCBD needs a back-of-the-collar button, breast pocket, a locker loop and (less important) a sleeve placket button. Without the first three, the shirt feels more formal than it should, almost as if it is confused.

Overall, the material, unlined collar and cuffs, MOP buttons make it wonderful shirt, the lack of classic OCBD details as noted make it not perfect and, for me, not worth the price.

Last snarky comment. In the little insert that came with the shirt, BB says “…More than a century after its introduction, the classic returns with authentic details. The cuffs and button-down collar are as soft as always and featured genuine mother-of-pearl buttons…” How can it both “return” and be “as always….” If they had “as always” kept the details, the shirt wouldn’t have had to “return.”