All posts in Uncategorized

For My Trads on a Budget

When I went full on Trad it was a pretty affordable style. Outside of the 3/2 sack blazer, sport coat, and suit you could find the essentials with all of the desired details moderately priced everywhere from Lands End to L.L. Bean  to J.Crew and beyond. Even Brooks Brothers OCBD, the gold standard of OCBDs was $50 cheaper only 2 years ago and even cheaper than that on discount. However, with the proliferation of non-iron clothing, shrinking collars, and skin-tight fits has made finding the essentials with the correct details at a moderate price difficult if not impossible.

I wanted to offer my help to Trads on a budget by putting together a small list of more affordable essential pieces. While these offerings may have some shortcomings such as non-iron finishes and smaller collars they can still help to create the look and can serve as an gateway to higher priced items. I have started with the OCBD, chinos, and penny loafers.
The Perfect Chinos

OCBD
There is no better place to start than the OCBD. The blue OCBD is the classic piece of trad wear that is most well known for helping to create the ever desirable collar roll (read more about collar roll here). Collar roll will be the hardest thing to get in an OCBD for under $100. Even of the OCBDs that I posted below I am hesitant to suggest that you may be able to achieve a nice collar roll. I have heard others say that it is possible from the L.L. Bean and the Stafford oxford. I know from experience the current Lands End OCBD will not produce a great roll, but it does not have a no-iron finish like the other 2. However, most people don’t need to wear ties which so wearing one of the OCBDs is not a big deal and even if you do wear a tie they will work until you can save up (or find thriting) one that does.

L.L. Bean OCBD – $44.95

JCPenney Stafford OCBD – $40 (on sale for $19.99)

Lands End Hyde Park OCBD – $49.95
The Ivy Look Slim ChinosChinos
I don’t have any specific recommendations here. What I suggest that you look for are chinos that are not no-iron, are not pleated (flat-front), and either have a cuff or have enough material to be cuffed. The reason that I suggest the above is that the casual looking chino is very much apart of the Ivy League and trad look. Chinos with a no-iron finish can often look shiny or dressy which does work as well it appears too polished. Don’t worry though with a good pressing your must-iron chinos will look great with a blazer or tweed. I wear J.Crew 1040 Essential chinos, but you can find other like them at the Gap, Old Navy, and even Lands’ End (their non-iron chinos aren’t too shiny). Most important is that your chinos fit and are not puddled up at your shoe and stuck at your shin.
Penny Loafer in PrintPenny Loafer
This is the easiest category for me to make suggestions. I narrowed it down to 2. First, is the Bass Outlet. You can even access this online. Bass penny loafers have a great shape so much so that I wear them to this day. They are also very light which works well for my feet. On the downside they are not made up of the best materials. My second suggestion is to occasionally scour Allen Edmond’s Shoe Bank website. This where they sell their seconds and discontinued items. There are often great deals to be had.

Bass Outlet Penny Loafers – $79-89

Allen Edmonds Shoe Bank

This post should be read in conjunction with last week’s post on fit, proportion, and silhouette. Together these posts will help those on a budget put together a very trad looking thread without maxing out their credit cards. I thought this was an important subject to cover as one of the reasons that favored this style of dress was its availability and affordability. Some of that has changed over time, but my recommendation of the style has not. If you have any affordable items that you would like to suggest please do as I know many readers are eager to hear and learn from you all!

MTM 3/2 Roll Sack Options

I am slowly, but surely making my way into the market for a made-to-measure sport coat.This brings up the question of who offers the best MTM 3/2 roll sack?

When I think of getting an MTM sack I automatically think Southwick. They make the best 3/2 roll sacks for Brooks Brothers, J.Press and basically everyone else in the trad universe, but they are definitely not the only players in the game especially when it comes to MTM.

Southwick Douglas 3/2 roll sack
I already spoke to Southwick’s credentials above. They currently offer two 3/2 roll sack models for MTM: the Douglas (See the example above from O’Connells) and the Cambridge. The Douglas is more traditional by today’s standards with a longer body and wider lapels while the Cambridge model has all of the features that an Ivyist could ever want. The best part of MTM is that you can tweak the dimensions of these jackets to work for you. Southwick is at the top of my list for now. They also have an easy to use dealer finder (Southwick Store Finder).
Samuelsohn 3/2 roll sack Sport Coat
The picture of the Samuelsohn Greenwich II model from O’Connell’s (See Here) above always makes me stare. I don’t know much about Samuelsohn except for the shape of the sack above looks pretty perfect to me. That alone is enough to me interested. If anyone has any experience with this model I would love to hear about it.
H.Freeman MTM Sack
H.Freeman is another option for an MTM 3/2 roll sport coat. I remember that Christian at Ivy Style purchased one of their jackets(Measure For Measure: H. Freeman MTM Sportcoat). I believe that their 3/2 roll sack model is called the Naturalaire. I checked the website to verify this and to find out where H.Freeman was available, but the website was the definition of useless. I am sure that an email will clear everything up.

Southwick, Samuelson, and H.Freeman are the three companies that I am currently considering for an MTM sport coat. I think that I would be happy with any one of them, but because of the MTM aspect I will leave you a few of the other considerations that are playing a role in my decision. Which of these companies has a “distributor” near me? How good is the tailor at that location? Do they understand the natural shoulder look?