All posts in Style

Always & Forever

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I have been spent a lot of time trying to find the perfect source for OCBDs, chinos, and Shetlands. My thinking was that once I nailed down the ideal garment that I would be set for life. I would be able to purchase these “perfect” items over and over until the end of my days. I now see the flaw in my logic.

I know that I am not alone in this search. I get a lot emails from readers are on the same mission. It is a noble pursuit. However, I am changing my strategy. After following the clothing industry more closely over the past 5-8 years I have learned that change is inevitable. A company may not change the cut of the product, but use a new factory which changes the fit or they have to change their source for raw material and the colors change as a result. There are countless other scenarios that will impact our “perfect” shirt, pants, sweaters.

Based on the above my advice is that if you find something that you really like and that fits you well buy multiples, because tomorrow will never be like yesterday. I have kicked myself more than once for not following that logic. Friend of the blog Ensiferous shared this piece of wisdom that is well worth remembering,

“One is none. Two is one. The third is a spare.”

Brooks Brothers New OCBD Review by Fading Fast

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Lately there has been more talk than normal about Brooks Brothers OCBD. This is because Brooks recently made some significant changes to a shirt that many have come to know and love. Some of these changes such as the removing of the collar lining have collar roll enthusiast salivating while the price jump ($90 to $140) has prevented some from taking the plunge.

I have not purchased one of the new shirts for myself so I can’t speak to the specific pros and cons, but Ask Andy Trad member Fading Fast has and can. I offer up Fading Fast’s take on the shirt, because over time he has shown that he possesses a great temperament for such endeavors.

Thoughts from Fading Fast

My $140 list (paid $105) BB OCBD came and my early thought are:

Positives: Great feel to the material and the unlined collar and cuffs are spot on – what an OCBD should have. Nobody has a more definitive Oxford blue color than BB (which might be tautological) – it is the perfect tone. The mother-of-pearl buttons add to its understated quality.

Negatives: For me (and there is no right or wrong), the perfect OCBD needs a back-of-the-collar button, breast pocket, a locker loop and (less important) a sleeve placket button. Without the first three, the shirt feels more formal than it should, almost as if it is confused.

Overall, the material, unlined collar and cuffs, MOP buttons make it wonderful shirt, the lack of classic OCBD details as noted make it not perfect and, for me, not worth the price.

Last snarky comment. In the little insert that came with the shirt, BB says “…More than a century after its introduction, the classic returns with authentic details. The cuffs and button-down collar are as soft as always and featured genuine mother-of-pearl buttons…” How can it both “return” and be “as always….” If they had “as always” kept the details, the shirt wouldn’t have had to “return.”

Linking the Past to Present: 90’s Fraternity Style

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The style known as Trad owes a lot to the Ivy League style for its heritage. However, this traditional American style was shaped by not only heyday Ivyist, but by each generation after that was interested in the traditional American look.

Just this week I read an interesting post that covered late 90’s fraternity style. This post featured Wallabee Clarks and polo shirts. Two items that were also included in the, “Definitive Late 70s Prep Checklist” post. This post on the 90’s in conjunction with the late 70’s Prep post helps to illustrate the path from Ivy style to Preppy to Trad.

I encourage you to head over to Red Clay Soul to read the article: LATE 90’S – EARLY 00’S FRATERNITY STYLE

(Under the) Weather Updates

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I found myself under the weather this weekend. The cool wet weather has not helped either. I have spent the majority of my downtime either sleeping or drinking tea. With not much creative energy I thought that I would take this time to do a few updates.
Moosehide MocsI have been a moc binge. First it was my L.L. Bean camp mocs (A trip to Bean), then a pair of Minnetonka classic drivers (The Summer of Mocs), and then another pair of Minnentonkas. I originally purchased a size 8 in the classic driver. It ended up being a little too narrow. I grabbed an 8.5 and they are about perfect. I liked them so much that I ordered a pair of the Moosehide driving mocs (see here). They are remarkably comfortable. More so than the drivers, but they don’t look quite as cool. They also run smaller and don’t come in half sizes. I ended up with a size 10.
Pink Brushed ShetlandMy next pick-up was very similar. I liked my brushed PRL sweater (Featured in my sweater showdown) so much that I purchased the pink one when they went back on sale. The pink is…pink! I am not shy about wearing pink, but this pushed me into new territory. I have worn the sweater at least 10 times since I purchased it. The pink did not deter me at all. I enjoyed wearing it.

I probably don’t do updates enough. These two updates in particular highlight the biggest reasons that there would be updates. The first is fit. I am sure that any of you that online shop can relate. The next is that I like it something so much that I buy another. This is something that I encourage and will have more on that in an upcoming post. Now I am off to rest.

Collar Roll Variables: The Top Button

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Trads spend countless hours trying to find the OCBD that produces the perfect collar roll (learn more about collar roll). Often this process can be cut short by simply going to Brooks Brothers, but that does not work for everyone. The reason why is that collar roll relies on a lot of variables. Just to name a few there is the length of the collar points, the placement of the buttons, of the button holes. the height of the collar, the thickness of the material, and this does not even start to take into account all of the variables of there wearer, but lately I have started to think about another variable.
Rectangular FinishRounded FinishI had never given much thought to the top button of my shirts before. However, when I started to search for a new OCBD provider it jumped out at me pretty quick. The first OCBD that I tried was from Brooks Brothers. When I put it on I immediately noticed that where the placket and collar end it has a square edge where as the shirts that I am currently wear (Lands’ End Original OCBD) are rounded.

This got me thinking about how these two different styles may effect collar roll. The rounded edges seem to help establish the visual of what looks like a single point of origination for the collar roll where the square or rectangular shape can make each side of the collar look independent of one another due to the distance between them at the top of the collar. I also noticed that when the top button is undone that the rounded edges create a more open look around the neck than the rectangular finish. This could be on of the reasons why there is such a high demand for vintage 6-button Brooks Brothers shirts.
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This is yet another variable to add into the complicated equation of creating the perfect collar roll. Although it may have more to do with the resistance to change than actual functionality or additional collar roll benefits as of now I prefer the rounded edge. Out of the usual bunch of suspects (Brooks Brothers, Mercer Shirts, Michael Spencer, etc) I believe that J.Press and O’Connell’s are the only ones that use the rounded edge, but I do notice various degrees of variation in the rectangular shape. I will leave you with one last piece of advice. When you find the shirt that produces your ideal collar roll, buy more.