All posts in Style

A Visit to L.L. Bean

Columbus Ohio LL Bean Store

Usually a trip to L.L. Bean means a trip to Freeport, Maine, but thanks to Bean’s retail expansion I only had to travel an hour down the road to Columbus, Ohio. I had never been to an L.L. Bean store so I was interested to take in the new store in first hand.
Columbus Ohio Bean BootI was a little concerned that the store would look like a shopping mall version of L.L.Bean. I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was not actually in the mall, but had its own free standing building near a mall. Bean also stayed true to its outdoorsy roots by offering quite a bit of their outdoor gear at the fatality not just their clothing.

My other concern was stock. Often when I enter a brick and mortar store I know exactly what I am looking for as I have previously scoped it out online. When I ask for that particular item the salesperson often hits me with, “We don’t carry the in-store, but I can order it for you.” No offense to the salesperson, but I am a competent e-shopper and need no help in ordering something online. The other issue is often sizing. Many brick and mortar stores with a strong e-commerce presence don’t stock many sizes. Once again I was impressed as I found 90% of what I was interested in and they had a full range of sizes in store.
Bean MocsI know that you all are wondering if I made any purchases. I did. I ended walking away with a pair of camp mocs and bluchers mocs. I went with the Signature line models as they had both versions for me to compare and the Signature line was noticeably nicer. I haven’t had a chance to break them in yet, but you can expect a full review in the future.

When I first heard about Bean’s plans to increase their physical presence I was wary. My concern was that they would increase their overhead so much that if and when Bean boots are not the hottest trend of the season that Bean will have to meet current trends to keep its doors open. For all of my trad readers I will call this the Brooks Brother effect. My visit set me at ease, at least for the time being. I just hope that in another 100 years that I will still be able to recognize the brand.

Are Baseball Caps Trad???

Trad Caps

The title of this post is certainly going to resonate with Trad forumites as this is one of the quintessential ways that one uses to step into unknown territory. Luckily, for the sake of this blog I ask the question in jest as I already know the answer. Yes, baseball caps are trad, but like any article of trad clothing it is all about the where and the when.
Brooks Brothers Tartan Ball Cap

Brooks Brothers Tartan Baseball Hat

 I recently picked up a new baseball cap which caught the colleague that I was with by surprise. They told me that they did not think that I wore ball caps. This did not shock me, because my work appearance is not one that you would especially associate with ball cap wear (Plus, it would destroy my well coiffed hair). However, I assured my colleague that I occasionally sport a cap.
Wool Bean Baseball Hat

LL Bean Baseball Hat
Ball caps are a handy item to have around. I throw my hat on if I have to run really early or late errands, or when I am just looking scruffy, but there are lots of other times when wearing a ball cap is trad sanctioned. This includes ball games, golf, boating, yard work, fishing, and almost any outdoor activity where some protection from the sun would be appreciated.

What kind of baseball caps are acceptable you ask? Well, there are no hard and fast rules accept that you like it. This could be your favorite team, a club that you belong to, a plain cap, one with a needlepoint embroidery, or even a tartan patterned cap that would be perfect for fall chores, and even though I made a big stink about wearing clothes with logos a baseball cap is one logo’d item that doesn’t get me bent out of shape.

I hope that this post has provided a little relief to any of my ball cap sporting readers. Know that you are not alone. If you are in need of a baseball hat both Ideal Cap Co. and Ebbets  are great places to start. Just remember to take off your cap when indoors!

Four-in-hand knot with a Dimple Every Time

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I have had quite a few requests for me to demonstrate how I knot my tie. Well this week I relented. I took a video as I got ready for work last week. There are two things that I want to note about this video. The first is that I exaggerated the way in which I ensure a dimple in my tie during the recording, I do this by pinching the tie between my thumb and middle finger while using my index finger to shape the dimple. This second is something that I only learned after watching the video myself which is my four-in-hand knot form could use some work.

The Sweater Showdown: J.Press Shaggy Dog vs. Polo Brushed Sweater

JPress vs PRL Brushed Sweaters

The title says it all, but I will provide a little background. Even though I had just recently purchased a Shaggy Dog sweater from J.Press I added another brushed sweater to my closet. This sweater is a brushed Shetland/Lambswool/Cashmere blend from Polo Ralph Lauren. These sweaters are both currently available so I thought that a review would be useful for those with a brushed sweater on their want list.

J.Press Shaggy Dog Pros & Cons
Shaggy DogPros

  • Impressive Brushed Quality
  • Warm
  • Well Made

Cons

  • Thick
  • Expensive
  • Maybe Too Warm

Polo Ralph Lauren Brushed Sweater Pros & Cons
PRL Brushed Sweater
Pros

  • Soft
  • Nice Brushed Quality
  • Well Made

Cons

  • Thin
  • Delicate
  • Expensive

As you can see from the Pros/Cons list above each sweater has its own advantages. The Shaggy Dog is iconic, incredibly warm, and has a thick brushed appearance. On the flip side, it may be too warm to wear in most indoor scenarios (luckily, my office is often freezing.) and the thick texture may make one feel like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. It is about 2-3 x as thick as the PRL sweater (You can see the height difference in the top picture.)

The PRL sweater is beautiful looking sweater with a very soft hand, but at first I thought that it might be too delicate for my style. It is also a little thin for what I expect from a brushed sweater. However, the brushed appearance gives the garment just enough texture for me to get over the delicate debate.

Both sweaters are priced pretty high at $265, but they are also both on sale at this time. The Shaggy dog is currently $183.65(see here) and the PRL sweater is $149.99 (see here). They also both have a place in my closet. If you are looking for more brushed options Derek from Put This On put a nice list together (check it out here).

Pink, Grey, & Patterns: A Look in Review

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I rarely post a what I wear on a regular basis unlike I do on my Instagram account (see here), but as I have said before one of the best ways to learn is by watching others. I people watch in real life and on the internet where I have found style mentors such as Billax (Wearing the Ivy League Look Since 1958). All of this watching has helped me learn how to put together a good looking rig (at least, every now and then). In fact, a rig that I wore the other week garnered so much positive feedback (both online & IRL) that I thought it was worth sharing.
Grey Tweed, Pink tie, and chinosGrey Tweed & Pink TieGant TieThere are a few reasons why I think that this outfit was a hit. One, is that I did not grab my typical striped tie, but instead reached for a beautiful medallion tie from Gant. Two, the tie is pink. This is not a color that I wear very often. Especially when it comes to ties. Third, the grey tweed sport coat besides having all the Ivy details has lines of blue and green running through it that work well with the tie. The final reason is that it all just works really well together.