Finding a versatile piece of Fall outerwear can be tricky. A few years back I was looking for a jacket that I could wear in the Fall with my Shetlands sweaters as well as my sport coats. Something like my duffle coat, but not quite as warm.The answer turned out to be Barbour.
Barbour is well known and liked in Trad circles. These waxed cotton jackets conjure up images of country side hunting in a rugged Land Rover, but in reality they are more often used for cool rainy trips to the office. The fact that they perform well in either scenario gives them a lot of credibility. Combine this with their sporty English vibe and every trad’s inner anglophile longs for one.
There are lots of Barbour models out there. I have limited experience with the Brand. My Barbour jacket is a Beaufort (Thanks, Hardline 42!) It is a great model for me, it is long enough to pair with a sport coat, but not so long that it makes me look like a boy wearing his father’s coat. I would provide fit advice, but my jacket is from 1988 so I doubt that it is very relevant. For more up to date model and fit advice consult this Barbour buyers guide put together by Derek at Put this On. Check it out here: A Buyer’s Guide to Barbour
Over the last 6 months I have been making an effort to improve my casual rigs. First that meant that I had to re-adjust my thinking in terms of what casual actually means. What I already knew was that most people do not consider chinos quite as casual as us Trads making it a good place to start. I was not ready to go full denim so I started with a pair of 5-pocket cords.
I mentioned in last week’s post that I purchased a pair of J.Crew 5-pocket cords. Specifically I got the Vintage Cord in 770 fit. Previously I had shown the green pair (Island Pine), but I also purchased the khaki pair. I have not worn the green cords, but just yesterday I tried out the khaki ones.
In short, I could not be happier with them. The fit is slimmer with a narrower leg opening (7″ in on a size 30″ waist) and lower rise than the 1040 chinos that I wear to work, but this is exactly what I was looking for in casual pants (I did size up from a 29″ to 30″waist for those of you wondering). I wasn’t thrilled with the color right out of the box, but liked it while wearing them (I also think that they have lightened up after another wash. See second pic below for reference.). I paired them with a well worn OCBD, LL Bean Signature Blucher mocs, and topped it off with a pair of Wigwam socks.
5-pocket pants have never been my thing. I am not sure if it is the Steve McQueen connection (his style doesn’t do a whole lot for me), their period assocation, or if I was simply happy to just wear chinos instead. Whatever the case I now know that I was wrong, have discovered the joy of 5-pockets and the casual world that they have opened up to me. These 5-pocket cords in particular will pair well with my flannels, Wallabees, camp mocs, green bubble vest, and will fit right in with my fall tendency to draw on the late 70’s prep look (The Late 70’s Prep Check List).
I wear chinos almost everyday. They are a trad staple. They are an important part of my daily uniform as they are for a large portion of the business casual population. Due to this they are always in demand as we will always need a new pair to replace the old, but keeping up on the style, fits, and changes can get overwhelming. Lucky for us Blogger Red Clay Soul has put together a great Chino post (see here).
An example of my uniform that includes chinos.
In the “Khaki Spectrum” post Red Clay Soul explains,
Khaki pants will NEVER go away. They are an integral part of the preppy uniform, and they are the go-to for business casual. Pledges love them, and sometimes hate them. After a few years they become disposable (or shorts), but you’ll be hard pressed to find a more comfortable pair of pants after they are broken in. The style(s) of khaki pants live in a spectrum. There are some that would be considered dress khakis, that go with dress shoes and loafers, all the way to more utility khakis that go with boots, and the pants that fit in the middle.
He goes on to summarize 12 brands of chinos with which he is familiar. He also segments them by noting which are appropriate for dress shoes and which work with boots. I found this post useful and thought that of all of you would as well. Head over to Red Clay Soul for the full post (see here) and check out a few more of his posts while you are at it.
I truly did not think that I would see this day. I have read of it and I have even seen pictures of it, but I still thought it more myth than certain reality and then last week it happened to me. My trusty OCBD that had a charming amount of fraying now has a hole in its collar.
No blog has probably done a better job of documenting the Ivy & Trad virtues of well-worn clothing than Ivy Style with articles such as “A Frayed So: In Praise of Beater Clothes.” It was there where I saw my first OCBD collar riddled (pictured above) with what looked to me like symptoms of an insect problem not true wear and tear. This is where I was wrong.
Prior to springing a leak my shirt showed no signs of being on its last leg. It was worn to the office the week before. I put it in the wash frayed and it came out with a hole. It was part of my core rotation of 12 OCBDs. So it sees action about once every other week. I may have worn this one more than others without being aware of it (They do all look the same). However, upon further inspection two others are showing signs of being structurally weak in the same area.
I learned a few things this week. I learned that collars do get holes in them naturally without the shirts being worn well past their prime. I also learned that this batch of OCBDs all of which are from Lands’ End were purchased in 2007 and 2008. That is not a bad value at all when you consider that this shirt still has a very long life ahead of it. It may not make it to the office anymore, but it is just starting to get good and I didn’t even have to use sand paper (Princeton Boys and The Sandpapered Shirt Collar).