All posts in Men’s Clothing Reviews

Madison Avenue Does Main Street Ivy


Last week I broke out a tweed that I don’t think that I have posted before. It is probably the most ivy looking jacket that I own. It is also not as ivy you might think.
Varsity Town Madisonaire JacketI rarely thrift or buy second-hand clothes these days. It is not because I am too good for it and have all my clothes MTM, but rather it almost never works out for me. I am currently batting about 10%. This jacket however i purchased on a second-had site and (drum roll!) it worked out. The jacket is Varsity Town’s Madisionaire. If this name rings a bell it is probably because Christian at Ivy Style wrote an article about it (Varsity Town’s Madisonaire, 1966).
The Madisonaire is a perfect example of heyday Ivy. It has a 3/2 roll, natural shoulders, narrow lapels, swelled edges, and a hook vent. The lapel rolls the way they do in the old movies. It just looks ivy, and while it looks ivy it wasn’t made for the Brooks Brothers or J.Press crowd, but instead was intended for mainstream America. To quote the Ivy Style article, “Either way it’s still Main Street, a wonderful example of commerce at work and the flourishing of the Ivy League Look to men across the nation, who, if they couldn’t get the real deal, could at least get a replica.”
IMG_5614A few things to take away from this post. One, is that authenticity is tricky. Is this item ivy league or is it a cheap replica? Two, even though your vintage item may have been mid-market in its day its quality may be closer to today’s high-end tailored clothing. Three, repp ties are great, but don’t forget about foulards. They are perfect for tweed.

It’s Routine


I am a person of routine. For the most part I do the same things at the same times. Implementing routine and structure into my life has been overwhelmingly positive. However, when my routine is interrupted things tend to fall apart.

Take today for example. I write my blog post from my office every Sunday morning, but today there is no heat in my office. My whole day is now in disarray. Well, not that extreme, but it is interfering with this post. Instead of abandoning my weekly post all together I am fighting back and will leave a few pics from the past several weeks. I hope there is some inspiration in there somewhere.

And do know that I am working on my home office. It is freshly painted. Now I just need some furniture.

Winter White Shetland
Sweater and Repp Tie
Rugged Preppy
Red Universit Stripe OCBD




Do as I say


I got a question the other day and I thought it was worth reflecting on. They asked me why I recommend basic solid colors sweaters for others when I occasionally wear sweaters that are bright pink.
IMG_3252First, let me say that I do recommend basic solid color sweaters. The people that generally ask for these type of recommendations are usually new to wearing Shetlands and trad dress in general. The reason I suggest these colors is because it makes it harder for those around you to remember when you last wore it. This is great for those that are just starting out as they may be dependent on wearing the same sweater more than once a week.  If you wear a bright pink sweater twice in one week it will be really easy to tell versus if the sweater is grey.
IMG_2835 (1)There are other reasons as well. I don’t recommend someone who is just getting into this style to start with a kelly green or cotton-candy pink sweater. If they have never worn these types of colors before there are few things that can happen. The first is that it will draw a lot of attention from others. Some good, some bad. The second is that if they are not comfortable in these bright sweaters their lack of confidence combined with all of the attention from others can lead to a bad experience. By contrast a grey or navy sweater is going to draw minimal attention.

The above not only goes for sweaters, but for shirt and trousers as well. I would recommend khaki chinos over madras trousers or a blue OCBD over a fun shirt for all of the same reasons above. Now once you have mastered the basics aka being comfortable in them and understanding what works for you then you are ready to take some risks. However, I am only giving advice and I don’t expect everyone to follow it. This advice is based on my personal experience and what I have observed it is never the authoritative word on trad style.

How to Choose a Trad Sweater?

IMG_1195 (2)

I get a lot of questions about sweaters which is cool, because I love sweaters. The question I get asked most often is what type of sweater to get.

Before I get started I want to let you know that I will not be answering the why Shetland sweaters are trad question, because I don’t actually know. I believe Brooks started selling them in 1905, but I don’t think that is the answer. I am guessing it was a mix of warmth and availability. Here we go.
Shetland sweater with vestFirst and foremost you should look for sweaters that are 100% wool. This is an easy way to sort out inferior products in terms of construction and performance. I am sure there are good poly mixes like the old Bean Norwegians, but this the exception. Stick with 100% wool.

Above I said to stick with wool, but I really do recommend Shetland wool. I like Shetland wool because it is substantial enough that the shirt underneath does not show through. Not in a see through way, but in that it shapes the sweater. Shetland also has enough texture to be interesting. If you want something finer Lambswool can work just pay attention to how it looks over an OCBD.

Always go with the crew neck. Crew necks were one of things I was most drawn to when I started to learn more about trad clothing. It just plain looks cool. It looks especially cool with a button-down collar underneath. Always where a button-down collar underneath. However a long sleeve tee may work on the weekend. If you want to wear a v-neck I suggest pairing it with a tie and sport coat.

My last piece of advice is to get a sweater with saddle sleeves. Essentially this means that there is no shoulder seam. The saddle sleeve looks a little more refined than a set-in sleeve. It is what helps Shetlands work so well in an office environment. It also gives them a nice natural shoulder.

In terms of colors start with the basics. I recommend mid-grey, charcoal, and navy as a foundation. Then add a green or burgundy to the mix. You can wear these sweaters a lot without people noticing that you are wearing the same sweaters.  After you have the basics in place you can go crazy.

When it comes to picking out trad sweaters this is the foundation. Just remember to look for 100% Shetland wool sweaters with crew necks and saddle shoulders.

Sid Mocs

Sid Mashburn

I have written about my adoration of camp mocs on more than one occasion. I currently own 2 pair, but I still have a gap to fill. While making my rounds on the web last week there was a pair from Sid Mashburn that caught my eye.

First let’s cover why I love camp mocs. You can wear them year-round while their cousins the boat shoe are generally relegated to warmer months (Not that I always adhere to this. See Boat shoes with socks). They are also a little more rugged than their cousin. I would call boat shoes the blue blazer with gold buttons with a little more prep connotation while camp mocs are the slightly more trad tweed jacket. Also, they look cool. Real cool.
Sid Mashburn Camp MocWhy do I need another pair? As I said, I have 2 pair. One pair are Sperry gold cup 1-eye boat shoes. The other are L.L. Bean Signature camp mocs. The Sperry’s are great without socks, but a little too tight with socks while the Bean mocs run big one me and I can only wear them with heavy duty wool socks. You see where I am going. I something in between. Here is where the Sid mocs enter the scene.
Sid MocsSince I don’t have any experience with this shoe I will let Sid tell it,

Somewhere between Native Americana and New England… and handsewn in Portugal? Go figure. A higher vamp and a slimmer shape make these a little more polished than your average camp moc. They’ve still got the traditional leather lacing and rubber sole. The harder you wear them, the better they get. (Especially sans socks.)

Overall I think the Sid mocs ($150 – see here) look like contenders. Like the shape. I like color. What I also like about them is that the price is high enough that I will expect decent quality, but does not venture into Rancourt or Quoddy territory. Not that I don’t eventually want to head that way.