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Bits from Billax

Billax Collar Roll Featured

We were all bummed out when Billax left the blogger scene. It sucked. It was like when Heavy Tweed Jacket shut down his blog in the past. It’s not that I don’t understand, because I do. Blogging comes with a lot of baggage and sometimes you need a break. Heavy Tweed Jacket returned in the form of Tumblr (Heavy Tweed Jacket) and Billax was just recently spotted by Put this On the blog posting on the Menswear forum, Style Forum.
7 OCBDS with Collar RollBillax post on Style Forum does not disappoint. The king of collar roll showcases the collar roll of 7 OCBDs in this order Mercer (Pink Uni Stripe), The Knottery, J. Press, Brooks Brothers, Land’s End, O’Connell’s, and Kamakura. For those of us who are obsessed with button-down collars post like these are invaluable. For more details on the comparison check out the his full post here, Billax on Style Forum.

If this post did not quench your thirst for Ivy League Style advice dispensed by someone who lived through these times I have another link for you. Prior to Billax launching his blog he would allow me to publish some of his long form forum posts. This link will take you to these posts – Billax archive on the OCBD blog.

Popover Update & More

Popover

This popover talk continues this week on the blog. I found an image that illustrates my ideal popover placket length, a cool popover blog post, another Ivy Etsy shop, and I have a few pics of my popover from Target to share.
Sidney Poitier in Popover shritI have stated my preference for a shorter placket on popovers before. I prefer 3 buttons. I am aware that this stance is in the minority. I am okay with that, but that is probably why they are hide to find. I didn’t find an example for sale, but I did find this image of Sidney Poitier in one (on a blog that is new to me called Placid Style). I think this popover looks sporty and casual. Exactly what I want out of a popover.
iTarget Popover                                                                  Target Popover (above)

While the Placid Style blog is new to me the Placid Vintage Etsy store is not. I don’t thrift nearly as much as I used to, but I do use Esty to source some good deals. I primarily look for ties, but for those who wear a common there is a lot of good vintage Ivy stuff out there. This store has been a great resource for me. Add it to your list of places to look for vintage Ivy.

Last, but not least I have a few pics to share of my Target popover (Popover PSA). I thought might be helpful for those of you who are on the fence to see it in action. Overall I am satisfied. It is a touch smaller than I would like and the material is okay at best, but for $20 I have zero regrets. On the other hand the collar is much fuller than anticipated. I may even grab a backup.

Tune in nest week when I will probably talk about something other than popovers.

Michael Spencer OCBD Sale

Michael Spencer

If you are in the market for a new OCBD or just want to expand your trad horizons outside of Brooks Brothers and J.Press boy do I have some good news for you! Michael Spencer is currently running a $40 off sale (bringing the price down to $95 from $135) to celebrate the Fourth of July. While the Fourth has came and went the sale continues until July 14th.

A little more about Michael Spencer. He is an advertiser on this site (and is very much appreciated!), but that is not why I posted this sale. His shirts are the real deal. They are made in the same factory as Brooks Brothers along with all the usual suspects, but there are some advantages to a Michael Spencer OCBD. With Michael Spencer you can get lined or unlined collars, custom sleeve lengths, and just about any other trad detail that your heart desires.

If you are still on the fence about Michael Spencer’s OCBDs look no further. I have you covered. Here is a link to a review from Oxford Cloth Button Down reader Steve that he did for the blog a while back (Michael Spencer OCBD Review). He had nothing but good things to say.

Trads on Bikes

Featured Cycling

In my opinion there is nothing better than travelling by bicycle. While I have mastered the casual ride with social stops I have yet to get a handle on commuting to work. Luckily for me, my internet friend and fellow trad, Dallas has been posting fantastic pictures of his commute to work in Cambridge. These pictures have reassured me that it is possible to travel to work in trad. He was also kind enough to sit down with me to share some trad tips on cycling to work.

Before we get started I want to thank Dallas for his contributions (Thanks!). You can find more from this stylish young Trad at his Tumblr (getticketsforthedance.tumblr.com) and Instagram (getticketsforthedance). Trad Cycling 2What are the best clothing for cycling?
I think this really depends on where you’re going, what your route is to get there, and how you’re most comfortable. I’m on my bike basically everyday, and I see a real range of cycling clothes on other riders, everything from full spandex body suits to dressed up work attire. I tend to find myself more on the regular clothes end of the spectrum, as my current commute is relatively flat and only a few miles long. I’m on the road for around 20 minutes each way, at a fairly casual pace. In the past, when I had longer commutes, I experimented with wearing more technical underlayers, but I don’t do anything like that today. Is this a perfect system? Of course not. Do I still show up a little sweaty sometimes? Especially in summer heat, or when layered up in the winter? Of course I do, but you just learn to live with these things. This time of year I’ll roll my shirt sleeves, unbutton an extra collar button and soak up the sun.Trad Cycling 7Best shoes for cycling?
Maybe this is the wrong thing to say, but I just wear my normal shoes. As I said, I’m not traveling far, nor in difficult conditions. In the fall and winter I wear a lot of boots and chukka boots, in the spring and summer I wear a lot of moccasins and loafers, with a few lace-ups thrown in there (year round) for good measure. A nice thing about cycling is that it saves wear on the bottoms of your nicer shoes. Also in bad weather I have a few different options, from wellingtons, to Bean boots, to my trusty pair of Red Wings.Trad Cycling

Any tips you can share on getting to work via bike and still looking good?
Most days finds me in khakis and an oxford cloth button down, which is a fairly ideal combination in terms of knock-around-ability and breath-ability. If you’re really worried about sweating in work clothes, there are two things I would suggest, the first is to pack some deodorant and re-apply at your destination, and the second is to give yourself enough time so that you don’t have to rush. If you’re going a few miles at a casual pace you should have nothing to worry about. In colder weather it’s best to favor lighter layers, a lightweight packable rain jacket is a must (mine was a few bucks at a thrift store), and in the spring and summer I either don’t wear a blazer/jacket, or I stash it for my ride and put it back on once I get to work. All that being said, I tend to favor everything a little bit rumpled, and don’t really specialize in sartorial perfection. I like my clothes to look lived in, but not disheveled (there’s a fine line.) Basically, I’m the kind of guy that doesn’t press my trousers, but I steam my own button down shirts. I think biking plays into that, my ideal state of casual formality. I could wear these clothes to work at the office, but I could also bike 5 miles in them or play a pickup game of something.Trad Cycling 3Any biking tips?
It’s important to follow the laws of the road as much as possible. Am I perfect at this? Of course not, but I do my best. It’s simple things really, don’t ride against traffic, ever. You’re not only putting yourself in danger, but you’re putting everyone else on the road in danger. Stop at stop signs and lights, always look both ways when crossing, yield to pedestrians (especially in crosswalks). Nearly everyday I see cyclists doing something wrong, any of the things I just listed, and every single time I think how poorly that those actions reflect on all other cyclists. Oh and one more thing, wear a helmet. I always have one on, and you probably should too.
Trad bikes moreAny other thoughts?
Have fun out there. Enjoy the weather, the heat, the cold, the sun, the rain, the snow. I bike year round because I love the freedom, I can pick my route, come and go as I please, and really get a feel for the area along the way. I’ve met new people, talked with strangers on street corners while stopped at lights that I never would have otherwise met, I’ve even rode my bike past celebrities. It’s good for your health, it’s good for the environment, more bikes on the road means less car traffic, the list of benefits goes on and on. Thanks so much Jerrod for including me in your blog.

Ivy League Humor, Japanese Proverbs, & Ties

Pearls Before Swine

I thought that I had seen pretty much every humorous emblematic tie out there. Sure there might be 1 or 2 that have escaped me, but I have a good overall understanding of what is out there, or at least I thought that I did until I found Basarahadehiko’s Instagram account.

Basarahadehiko’s Instagram is where I learned that the Japanese have their own kind of novelty emblematic tie. These ties are based on Japanese proverbs. While many of the proverbs are well known others are uniquely Japanese, but the medium remains very American. The Ivy Style  inspiration is not limited to it being a tie, but also in the choice of animals, colors, and materials which adds to its charm.
Japanese Proverb TieJapanese Hare Proverb TieSaki TieHunting CurryWhen I asked about the origin of these ties I was stunned at the response. These ties were made primarily by J.Press and Brooks Brothers. I never knew. Humorous emblematic ties are nothing new to the Trad world (see Ivy League Humor) and neither is the Japanese interest in Trad, but this I had never seen or even heard about.

I have included a few samples of Basarahadehiko’s ties along with proverb in this post. This is only a small sampling. I encourage you to visit the Instagram account to see more.