I will continue with last week’s theme of simplicity and accessories, but will move down from the wrist to the waist. That’s right, I am talking about belts. Not any type of belt, but the surcingle belt in solid colors. Before I get too far along in this post I should define what a surgincle belt is (actually I will let Wikipedia define it for me),
“A surcingle belt is a belt having a web body with leather fittings on either end and a frame style metal buckle. The web is usually a heavy wool twill and may be solid colored or longitudinally striped, or embroidered with a repeating motif. The leather ends are sewn onto this, and are generally narrowed. Surcingle belts are conventionally considered an element of casual dress. They are strongly associated with the preppy subculture.”
There are two things that I think make this belt so versatile. The first is the solid color. What I like most about solid colors is they are easy to forget (or hard to remember?) which is also why I prefer solid colored sweaters. It is much more likely that people will notice how often you wear an item with multiple colors compared with a solid colored item. It also takes less thought when getting dressed. You don’t have to give much consideration to matching or clashing. The second feature about this belt in particular is the color olive. Olive has long held a place in traditional American clothing whether it be olive chinos, an olive tweed sport coat, or an olive Shetland. Like most things Trad olive is understated. I find that it works with almost every rig that I put together. It adds a bit of color, but never commands attention. The solid surcingle can not only add color, but it can also tone down an item such as madras shirt (see the example above).
There are two points that I would like you to take away from this post. The first is to consider adding a solid colored surcingle belt to your arsenal. It is an easy way to add color to your outfit without adding too much color. The second is to consider a quiet color. While I am a proponent of olive I also think that natural or navy are great options. In fact, my next surcingle will be natural.
Last, but not least the surcingle belt is extremely versatile. I have shown it above with sports shirts, dress shirts with ties, blazers, tweeds and in every season. If you add one to your closet I think that it will prove itself to be a valuable asset.
For more about the surcingle belt I encourage you to check out The Weejun’s post on surcingle belts. It is an oldie, but a goodie. You can find it here: Whatever Happened to the Surcingle Belt?
As I was taking off my watch the other day I noticed that it may be time to give it a wash (pictured below). After further inspection it was clear that my favorite watch strap has seen better days. It is not at death’s door yet, but it is time to start thinking about its successor.
When it comes to finding nylon watch straps the good thing is that you don’t have to look far to find some great inexpensive options. I always recommend the Central Watch’s 5 for $30 deal on their nylon straps, but there are also great options at O’Connell’s, J.Press, and J.Crew.
If you are looking for an actual NATO style band (They do have a military history, but it does not involve NATO troops.) I suggest checking out Smart Turnout. They have an impressive collection of regimental bands. However, If you have smaller wrists such as myself you may find NATO straps a little bulky due to the excess length which is why I avoid them even thought I love the utilitarian design.
The watch band that I have my eye on over at O’Connell’s. It has great colors, but I am not sold on the grommetts.
I used to switch my bands out regularly, but over the past 2-3 years I have become a one-band type guy. I am not sure if this because I have begun to wear ties a few days a week and that satisfies my need for color or if I am just growing more boring by the day. Either way it won’t hurt to add another to the collection!
There are a lot of types of shirt stripes out there. Even if you only include the most common types It’s hard to keep them all straight. That’s probably why world renowned shirt maker Alexander Kabbaz put together a post on Ask Andy 12 years ago on the subject that I still find myself revisiting to this day.
The image above features examples of Awning Stripes, Dress Stripes, Bengal Stripes, Candy Stripes, Hairline Stripes, Pin Stripes, and Wide Pin Stripes along with a measuring tape making it a great reference piece.
These are relative sizes. For example, Candy Stripes approximately 1/8″ equally spaced white & color or color & color; Bengal Stripes +/- 1/4″ equally spaced white & color or color & color, etc. Pin stripes are usually 1 or two yarns thick and the spacing between pin stripes varies all over the map.
Mr. Kabbaz does note that these are common terms not an all-inclusive list of synonyms and that,
If you’d rather call your Candy Stripes Bengals and your Bengals Pinstripes, feel free. One person’s tiger is another’s kitty.
I actually branched out from my standard blue OCBD this week and ordered a shirt with stripes myself. More on this in the near future. Stay tuned. Until then, here is a link to the full Ask Andy Post that contains additional images and information (visit here).
Two weeks ago I received an email from a reader letting me know that a UK magazine called The Chap had used one of my images. I had never heard of the magazine, but the readers described it as a, “tongue in cheek “journal for the modern gentleman.” ” You can never be too sure, so I quickly looked it up to see if it was about menswear or some other fetish. It is the former. This post really isn’t about The Chap magazine image, but what the incident led me to think about. I thought about my blog in general. I was humbled that a reader recognized a relatively old image of mine in a magazine and then took the time to tell me about it (Thanks again, Stephen!). At times it is hard to know if people are enjoying the blog, but interactions with readers like this are a much appreciated reminder that many do.
Last, but not least I thought about the fact that they chose an image of the Bass Logan Weejun for their article. I haven’t actually read it, but it looks like a short-history-plus-how-and-where-to-buy article. In my opinion, this is just another piece of evidence to confirm that the Logan Weejun has the classic penny loafer shape.
On that note, Bass doesn’t currently offer the Logan in brown on their site (only black & burgundy), but you can pick a pair up at Zappos, but with contrast stitching (see here).
I am slowly, but surely making my way into the market for a made-to-measure sport coat.This brings up the question of who offers the best MTM 3/2 roll sack?
When I think of getting an MTM sack I automatically think Southwick. They make the best 3/2 roll sacks for Brooks Brothers, J.Press and basically everyone else in the trad universe, but they are definitely not the only players in the game especially when it comes to MTM.
I already spoke to Southwick’s credentials above. They currently offer two 3/2 roll sack models for MTM: the Douglas (See the example above from O’Connells) and the Cambridge. The Douglas is more traditional by today’s standards with a longer body and wider lapels while the Cambridge model has all of the features that an Ivyist could ever want. The best part of MTM is that you can tweak the dimensions of these jackets to work for you. Southwick is at the top of my list for now. They also have an easy to use dealer finder (Southwick Store Finder).
The picture of the Samuelsohn Greenwich II model from O’Connell’s (See Here) above always makes me stare. I don’t know much about Samuelsohn except for the shape of the sack above looks pretty perfect to me. That alone is enough to me interested. If anyone has any experience with this model I would love to hear about it.
H.Freeman is another option for an MTM 3/2 roll sport coat. I remember that Christian at Ivy Style purchased one of their jackets(Measure For Measure: H. Freeman MTM Sportcoat). I believe that their 3/2 roll sack model is called the Naturalaire. I checked the website to verify this and to find out where H.Freeman was available, but the website was the definition of useless. I am sure that an email will clear everything up.
Southwick, Samuelson, and H.Freeman are the three companies that I am currently considering for an MTM sport coat. I think that I would be happy with any one of them, but because of the MTM aspect I will leave you a few of the other considerations that are playing a role in my decision. Which of these companies has a “distributor” near me? How good is the tailor at that location? Do they understand the natural shoulder look?