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J.Crew Does Chore Ivy?

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I received J.Crew’s June catalog this week and it contained a bit of Ivy or workwear… or both. If you are confused by that statement don’t be concerned as you are not alone. From the catalog,

Our new unstructured blazer comes with a bit of workwear cool, combining the refinement of suiting with a design inspired by vintage chore jackets.
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The item in question is an unstructured 3-button triple-patch pocket sack cut sport coat with dual vents and no lining (see it here). As soon as I saw this jacket I was trying to figure it out. “Are there darts? I don’t see any, but it there could be one closer to lapel like a chore coat. Is that a 3/2? No, it looks like a true 3-button stance. What’s the vent like? Dual. Interesting. Any lining? Not sure, but I can’t tell.”

Now let me go on to say that I like this jacket. It’s hard to find affordable ($168) natural shouldered sport coats with 3-patch pockets especially ones that are not alpha sized. It is also unstructured which I think is a great direction as it makes sport coats less formal and a little more casual cool. Maybe that will help keep the young guys interested in the look.

There are a few downsides to the jacket. Unstructured jackets are definitely cool (like a Keydge), but they way that they can pull around the front of the shoulder is not. Also, it does not appear to have lining which may keep you cool, but it makes putting on and taking off a jacket a lot more work. Last is the 3-button stance. It will work for some, but not others. It would probably look better on a taller person than a shorter one. It may ending up rolling. It may not.

So there you have it. If you can get over the 3-button stance, narrow lapels, and dual vents there is pretty sack sport coat J.Crew for under $200. It may not work for everyone, but if it works for you it is a pretty good deal. To me it feels like one of those items that everyone kicks themselves for picking up at the time ala PRL Rugby.

Fit is important, but…

When it comes to clothing fit is important, but fit alone will not make an outfit look good. Even if it is a good outfit. There are two other factors that I always take into consideration which are proportions and silhouette. I believe that these three elements fit, proportions, and silhouette are what separates good outfits from great outfits.
FullSizeRender(20)I was writing to a reader about this very subject earlier this week. Now don’t get me wrong fit is critical. If your clothes don’t fit well the other two are off the table. Fit can even take into account proportions and silhouette. For example, a shirt should fit well around the neck, the shoulders, but also in sleeve length. All of these items correlate to silhouette. An example of how you would consider proportions for you shirt could be deciding between slim, classic, or a baggier fit. Your weight and build need to be taken into consideration, but also your legs and pants. You don’t want a slim shirt and baggy trousers or vice versa. You need to take into consideration the whole picture thinking about how these proportions effect the overall silhouette.

It is also important to note that there are several silhouettes within the trad cannon. I think that office, formal, casual, suits, sportcoats, etc., etc. all have slightly different silhouettes. There is also some personal preference such as wanting a narrower pant leg or slimmer shirt while others like myself prefer little to no break in our trousers while others want a little more break. When thinking of the classic trad silhouette I think of how items like soft shouldered jackets and flat front chinos help to shape this silhouette.

I shared the pic above because it is one of my better efforts of illustrating fit, proportions, and silhouette. I like that my pants are not baggy or slim and the length is neither too short or too long. The tie appears a touch wide, but it’s not bad. The jacket length is pretty good and the amount of cuff showing under the blazer is within the acceptable range. Overall the fit and proportions make for a halfway decent silhouette.

My Michael Spencer OCBDs

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I have now had my Michael Spencer OCBDs for two months. This has given me the chance to wear them each shirt several times. I wanted to do this because too often I am still in the honeymoon phase of a purchase. However, I will not you hold you in suspense any longer. I love them.

I had heard a lot about Michael Spencer before I ever tried one of their shirts. Opening up shop around the time that all of the sub-$100 OCBDs with any type of legitimate collar roll began to disappear these shirts were a natural-fit for the trad market. Forgive the pun, but with the unlined 3.5″ collar the buzz in the trad world was strong.
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Lined collar at top and Unlined collar underneath

Michael Spencer offers multiple fits and multiple collar types. The fits are Vintage, Classic, Modern Slim, and Extra Slim. There are also multiple collar types available, but for this post the only one that matter is the Legacy Button Down Collar which can be made lined or unlined. The Legacy collar has 3.5″ collar points, a 3.25″ spread, and 0.5″ tie space.

Of course I went with the Legacy collar, but I selected one lined collar and the other unlined in the Classic fit. I have never owned an unlined collar before. My knowledge of them was all second hand and it is primarily from the waxing poetics of Ivy Style purists that I learned of their fetished uncontrollable rolls and unmatched comfort. After wearing the unlined collar a few times I soon understood the appeal. The comfort was unmatched. The collar was not uncontrollable, but I could not always get the collar roll that I wanted to stick like I could with the lined shirt. This may be one area where I am not a purist. I actually preferred the lined collar, because it provided a more structured roll.

IMG_3296FullSizeRender (1)The pros far outweighed the cons for me. The only two cons that I could come up with are price and the wait. The shirts are $135, but at this time this is market price. I may not love it, but the fact that it is consistent among Brooks Brothers, Mercer, and J.Press makes me okay with it. As far as the wait goes I learned that I have been conditioned with OTR (off the rack) clothing to expect instant gratification. Ordering a shirt takes a little longer, but the wait was worth it and since the need for a shirt is seldom an emergency this is not a big deal.

If you have been holding out on trying a Michael Spencer I say give it a go. They have a great product, they are great to deal with, and you can count on a great roll. On top of that you can deck it out with all of the bells (locker loops) and whistles (flap pockets) that you want. It is great to have add another trustworthy source for OCBDs to the list.

Spring Sniffles

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Spring is in full effect here in Ohio. Plants are poisoning the air with their pollen, there are 40 degree swings in temperatures, and I am suffering from cold. All joking aside, I do enjoy spring, but my cold has made things such as writing this week’s blog post a challenge. Lucky for me my Patagonia Snap-T has stepped up to the challenge of making me feel comfortable in a time of discomfort.
008You may have heard people say something to the effect of, “A Shetland sweater is a trad’s sweatshirt.” I am not going to dispute this as it holds true for the most part, but sometimes even trads need something even more comfortable than a Shetland (like when you are laying on your couch sick). This is where my Patagonia Snap-T fleece comes into play. It is warm and soft, but offers an advantage over something like a cream colored sweatshirt (see here), because it can provide more shelter from the wind and rain than a typical sweatshirt. It also has a cool late 70s prep vibe to it.

I am wearing my Snap-T as I write this blog, but I don’t only wear when not feeling well. Snap-T’s come in handy for any outdoor activity or even for just signalling that you are truly dressed down. For example, I have worn mine over an OCBD on a casual Friday where it was well received. These are just a few reasons that this versatile piece of active wear has found a home in the trad cannon.

Homework

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I have lived in my current apartment for about 5 years. However you cannot tell. For lack of a better description it does not feel like a home. There are pictures that need hung, rooms that need furnished, and so much more. I think that you get the idea.
FullSizeRender(21)IMG_4407I decided to tackle my interior design project one room at a time. I started with the living room. I had painted the living room when I first moved in so it already had that advantage going for it. It is also the room that I spend the most time when not sleeping. I made a list of what the room needed and started doing research on these items as well as gathering inspiration.

I have been shopping all over the place. To date I have used a combination of WayFair, antique shops, Pier 1, Home Goods, Hobby Lobby, and even Walmart. A few of the items that I have added so far are a new couch, throw pillows, two lamps, a few end tables, a couple pictures, and other knickknacks.
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My end goal is to have a place to live that reflects my style and interests. A place where I feel comfortable. I house that I want to go home to. For far too long I have had the mind set of making due with what I had, but now I am focused on making it my own. I will keep you all updated on my progress. I am off to find some new chairs!