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Striped Shirt & Striped Tie

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I often hear (or read) that you should not wear striped ties with striped shirts. I don’t know the origin of this “rule.” It may not even be a rule at all, but a tip to keep sartorial novices such as myself to stay away from pattern matching. What I do know is that wearing striped ties with striped shirts is one of my favorite things.
TodayPulling off a striped tie with a striped shirt relies on the same principle as any pattern on pattern matching. It is all about scale. It is also not complicated, at least in theory. The two patterns simply have to have enough difference in their scale to work. In general, it tends to work best when the shirt pattern is smaller than the tie’s pattern, but I am sure that there are exceptions to this.

Stripe tie & shirtClose up
Traditionally I wear a blue university striped OCBD with a striped tie. Like I said, it is one of my favorite looks. However, using different kinds of striped shirts opens up endless possibilities. I am slowly working on adding a new stripe type or color to my closet (Common types of shirt stripes). I recently purchased a pinpoint shirt with red stripes from Brooks Brothers primarily to wear with one tie in particular (see the combo here!), but I know that I will find many more to wear with it through experimentation.
Stripes on Stripess
Green Rep tie & Uni StripeI like rules. They provide structure and guidance. Rules can help you to avoid things that should be avoided without you having to fully understand why. On the flip side, once you better understand the reason for the rule you may be able to apply it as necessary instead of blindly following it. For those of you who don’t do stripes on stripes I hope this post encourages you to give it a go.

Saturday Style

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I am going to continue talking about casual clothes this week including small collars and even untucked shirts (revolutionary stuff, I know). Commenter Young Soul Rebel asked a question last week about the size of the collar on J.Crew’s popover. I replied that I don’t worry too much about collar size or roll on casual shirts. As a matter of fact this is not the only concern that I throw out the window when it comes to casual clobber.
Boat shoes and BaracutaGrey Sweatshirt & OCBDSaturday Style 3First let me define what I mean by casual, because there is a lot of it. Before I get attacked for my untucked shirts and shorts let me make it clear that I am not talking about fine dining or an event. I do not consider anything outside of 9 to 5 to be casual. I am talking about a casual that I call Saturday style. This is after work golf practice in my yard type casual. What I would wear to the grocery at 9am Saturday morning, to grab lunch with friends, or conquer weekend errands.
Barber Shop Shot Casual GolfWhite sneakersMore Saturday StyleI often find pictures more helpful than words which are why I shared so many in this post instead of trying to describe my casual style. I think that overall I am a fairly conservative dresser, but outside of work this is not nearly as true. As you can see some of the collars are small (though I would prefer they weren’t), the shirt is often untucked, there are white sneakers and grey sweatshirts, and I like it. Just keep in mind where you are going, always be somewhat presentable and you should be fine.

*For those of you that are wondering a few of these pictures are from last year which is why I wearing Madras prior the flag being raised (see the madras flag being lowered here). Not that would stop me.

Warm Weather Wear

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I am excited that it is getting warm. I love spending time outdoors. I have already tuned up my bicycle and I am ready to suffer through another season of learning how to golf. What I am not looking forward to nearly as much is warm weather clothes.
Yellow Harrington & Clipper Blue ShetlandUnlike the joy I get from putting on the first Shetland or pair of cords of the season most spring and summer clothes leave me cold. I do like a nice muddy green, blue, and brown madras. I am also happy to wear shorts, because that means that it is warm and I am not at work!
Kelly Green Baracuta and SweaterTo be honest most of the time that I wear color it is for the benefit of others. I would be happy in a blue OCBD every day, but I am self-aware enough to know that the monotony of that can wear on others. A few items that I have recently used to help add a spring color to my rigs are my two Harrington jackets (Kelly Green Baracuta & Pale Yellow PRL) and two spring-ish Shetlands (Salmon & Clipper Blue). While they are all very colorful the fact that they are all layers and can be easily removed is great for me. Even better is that I like all of these colors on me.
Pink ShetlandI may have come a little more curmudgeonly in this post than I intended, but I promise that I am excited for summer. This post is not about me hating pastels, linen, or seersucker along with anyone who wears the stuff. It is about knowing yourself. The better you understand what you like and what works on you the less likely you are to regret purchases or even worse, ending up at a great summer party unable to enjoy yourself because you aren’t comfortable in your own clothes.

The Solid Surcingle Belt

Olive Surcingle Featured Image

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.”

Olive Surcingle with TweedThere 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. Madras Shirt & Olive SurcingleThe 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.
Surcingle Belt w/ UniformLast, 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?

One-Man Band

One-Man Band

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.
Shetland-Sweater-and-WatchbandWhen 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.

O'Connells Grommeted band

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!