I have mentioned that I enjoy sports here and there on the blog before, but I don’t think that I have been clear about just how important athletics are in my life. I almost always do something physical every single day (It is such a great stress reliever and makes for a happier healthier me.) whether that is running, cycling, free weights, racquetball, golf, tennis, etc., but a lot of the time it is simply a trip to the gym. I don’t think much about what I wear to the gym (I have a gym uniform just like I have a work uniform), but when my go to sweatshirt fell apart I decided that it was time to upgrade my gym gear.
The death of my hooded sweatshirt presented the perfect opportunity to get the Barbarian hooded rugby (Barbarian) that I had been eyeing ever since Muffy Aldrich brought the brand to my attention. I was drawn to the Barbarian hoodie, because of its heavy weight cotton, sturdy construction, and simple style. I debated on purchasing a traditional rugby instead of the hooded version, but I really do like having the hood available when working out. It makes a drizzle endurable, helps to keep you warm in-between activity, and there is something about donning a hood that makes an early morning trek to the gym tolerable.
I planned on wearing my new rugby strictly for athletic pursuits, but that is not how it turned out. I was about to leave the house a few Saturdays ago to run errands when it decided to start sprinkling. Not only did it rain, but the rain really cooled down the temperature. I threw on my Barbarian hoodie and headed out. It ended up being the perfect layer and it added a nice causal element to my rig which kept the guy at the coffee shop from asking me if I had to work like he does when I wear a Shetland on Saturday mornings.
I liked the look of my hooded rugby so much that I have worn it outside of the gym a few more times since that first rainy morning. I also like the feel and fit of the rugby so much that I am considering buying another. I got a small the first time which fits like a large small or a small medium. This was perfect as I wanted to be able to wear layers underneath it (they also offer XS). I see myself purchasing a traditional rugby in green/blue stripes in the near future similar to the one pictured above which influenced my interest in the color. This time I know full well that my rugby will function as more than just gym gear.
Bonus pic of the cutest rugby sporting dog that I have ever seen:
A pair of Clarks Wallabees may not be one of the first shoes that come to mind when one thinks of Trad, Ivy, or Preppy shoes. In fact, it may remind some readers of one of the most non-traditional decades in terms of dress the 1970’s. However, Wallabees have been a part of my wardrobe since the mid-90’s and there is something that I find classically casual about the shoe.
It is true that most classic casual shoes such as the penny loafer, bit loafer, tassel loafer (probably a few more loafers), and of course their brand cousin the desert boot are all pretty sleek. The Wallabee is not a sleek shoe and may have more in common with a long wing gunboat or all weather walkers with its chunky sole than its casual counterparts. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes hearty clothes such as wide wale cords, a flannel shirt, jeans, or even a thick sweater can use an equally chunky shoe to balance out the look.
If you are looking for an alternative to the boat shoe or camp moc I think that the Wallabee can make a nice addition especially in the spring/fall months. For those that are still on the fence I have included a few pics that may help to win you over and remember to always look for the real thing (Clarks Wallabee vs Clarks Padmore).
These may not be Wallabees, but they could be.
Mens Club 1981 via Heavy Tweed Jacket
I am still in pursuit of a pair of collegiate fit chinos (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3). I recently picked up a pair of vintage chinos from Newton Street Vintage with the perfect taper (or so I thought) and I set out to reproduce them. This seemed like a pretty straight forward task and I thought that it would be the answer to all of my chino problems. Spoiler alert: They were not the cure-all. However, I did learn quite a bit about tailoring and myself in the process.
I brought 4 pair of Lands’ End Tailored fit chinos (Which have suddenly disappeared from the website…discontinued?) to my tailor along with the vintage chinos that would serve as the pattern. This was mistake number one. I should have started by altering one pair of chinos and if that was successful then brought in the other pairs. However, my desire for a wardrobe full of perfectly fitting chinos and the fact that my tailor is an hour haul from my house prevented me from seeing the flaw in my plan.
A week later I picked up my chinos and once again experienced the thrill of holding what I thought to be the perfect chinos in my hands. I rushed home and tried them on. They looked great! I could not wait to wear them the next day.
I left my house with my collegiate fit chinos creased up and looking very sharp. I took a picture (Picture above). I reviewed it. I was very pleased. Unfortunately this feeling did not last long.
After a few hours of sitting at my desk the once sharp looking trousers with a sleek silhouette now looked much different. The area from my knee to my ankle had completely lost its shape and the trousers that had looked perfect on me only a few hours ago now looked way too small and ill fitting (Picture above). This is when I realized my 2nd mistake. I should have asked the seamstress to leave some extra material so that I could let the chinos out a little if the experiment did not work. I will be doing this going forward.
I don’t want to let the negative outcomes of this portion of my journey overshadow the good that came from it, as I learned quite a bit. Here are a few things that I learned:
(Know Yourself) I have muscular legs and I will have to take this into consideration when tapering trousers. I used to think that my chinos flared out below the knees because the leg opening was too small. It turns out that they did this because my calf muscle was pulling them one way and my knee/thigh the other.
(Be Patient) Don’t get all of your clothes altered at once unless you are certain that will like the result.
(Be Cautious) If you are not certain that you will like the result of your alterations ask the seamstress to leave some material so that the operation can be reversed.
I also learned a little bit more about collegiate fit chinos specifically. The percentages that I gave in my first post (Collegiate Cut Chinos Part 1) seem to hold true. In this post, I attempted to go slimmer than the numbers recommended and I learned my lesson. The leg opening on these trousers is 7.25” (Picture at top of page), but the trousers that I had tapered to 7.45” in the previous collegiate fit chinos post worked a lot better for me (Picture above). However, the skinnier thigh on the new pairs fit better.
The biggest lesson I learned from this experiment is that what I want and what looks best on me are not always going to be the same thing. My hunt for collegiate fit chinos appears to be merging with my pursuit of the perfect chinos. I now have more questions to answer such as, “Would a heavier chinos help reduce the knee bulge?” , “Would a poly/cotton (Yeah I said poly) help?”, and “Is this just the nature of chinos?”. If anyone has any thought I would love to here them.
Zach Deluca the owner/operator of the Newton Street Vintage the coolest mid-century clothing shop around and recently announced Assistant Editor at Ivy Style was just interviewed over at Keikari. Among other things, Zach touches on how his desire to look like his rock ‘n’ roll heroes got him into clothes.
“Somewhere out there is a photo of me at 18, imitating young Bob Dylan imitating old Woody Guthrie. I was into jeans at first. Vintage Levis. I went nuts for them. I remember seeing in the liner notes to the Bruce Springsteen Live 1975 box set that Bruce had an orange tab on his Levis, and it started a relentless hunt for that orange tab that opened up the world of vintage.”
One of my favorite parts of the interview is when he compares learning about clothing to learning about cooking.
“You learn about clothes by handling clothes in the same way that you learn about cooking by working with food. Years ago I was also desperate to learn how to sew and construct, so I paid a local tailor/patternmaker for private lessons. She was great and really helped me get a firm foundation in construction methods.”
He goes on to talk more about his Etsy shop, the opportunities it has created, and his philosophy on style. Do yourself a favor and check out the full read over at Keikari (here) among the other great articles offered on the site. Also, be sure to watch for his pieces over at Ivy Style, and take a look at his Tumblr The Suit Room. Zach definitely knows his stuff and we are lucky to have him offering up his awesome vintage finds at Newton Street.
I saw the picture below on the Heavy Tweed Jacket blog and it inspired me to give the sport coat, sweater, and no tie look a try. In general I am not a fan of wearing a jacket of any sort without a tie, but this picture convinced me otherwise. There is a timeless quality and an informal sophistication about it that made me think this look was worth exploring.
One of the problems with wearing a sport over a sweater is that it requires a roomier sport coat to properly fit. Luckily for me, I had acquired a grey herringbone Brooks Brothers jacket that was a touch to big. Not quite big enough to get rid of, but big enough that it spent more time in the back of my closet than being worn.
I tried the combination on two separate occasions. On my first attempt I paired the jacket with a grey cable knit sweater from Brooks Brothers and a blue OCBD. Even though the colors were similar in shade I thought that the herringbone and cable patterns would provide enough contrast to make it work. In my opinion, it was a success.
On my second attempt I tried to add a little color. This time I paired the jacket with a burgundy Rugby sweater (I should have bought more of these when they went belly up.) and a blue university striped OCBD. I personally like this combination the best, but that’s not surprising considering that I love university stripes and burgundy sweaters.
I found the sport coat, sweater, and no tie combination to be a winner. I think that it can be an especially useful look if you work in an environment where ties are unwelcome, or if you are attending an event that is casual (especially if it is outdoors), but you want to make use of a sport coat. In these situations, the sport coat can truly serve as a piece of outerwear replacing the need for a coat. You can also remove the sport coat when indoors as you would a coat to reinforce its casual nature. This is a look at that I can see myself putting to good use as winter fades, but the warmth of spring still lies ahead.