After what feels like weeks and weeks of cooler than normal temperatures the warm days of summer have returned. While this great for leisure activities it can make wearing a sport coat or blazer a little challenging. This is the type where my Brooks Brothers Wash ‘n’ Wear blazer gets a lot of action.
Firs off, what is Wash ‘n’ Wear (or Wash and Wear)? Wash ‘n’ Wear fabric is composed of either a poplin, seersucker, or wool blend. While the poly aspect of the fabric seems to fly in the face of the trad ethos it has been included in the canon. The blend has 3 major benefits. It is wears well in warm weather, stays wrinkle free, and it can be machine washed. According to this New York Times (Wash it, Wear, it) article it surfaced around 1953.
Wash ‘n’ Wear fabric was primarily used for suits (based on the second-hand market) which has one thing that has always intrigued me about my blazer. The blazer came to me via the second-hand market, but I had always believed it to be a blazer. I believed this because of its blazer like features (gold buttons, two-button cuffs, patch pockets, swelled edges), but it turns out that I was wrong.
In an email exchange with the previous owner I learned the true origin of the blazer. It was purchased as part of a suit from Brooks Brothers in the early/mid-1990s. At some point the pants shrunk. The owner then converted it to a blazer by adding gold buttons, because it had all the features including the two button cuffs which were his call.
I now know the origin of my blazer, confirmed that trad was alive and well in the 90s, but I did not answer the questions that inspired this post, “Is it standard for cotton blazers to have gold buttons?”
Last summer I picked up a pair of Vans Authentics in white canvas. I have nothing bad to say about the shoe, but it lacked the support that I want in a tennis shoe. This is probably because I grew up in the Nike era of sneakers opposed to Chuck Taylors.
This is summer I purchased a pair of Tretorn Nylites in natural canvas. This shoe has all the pedigree of a Trad sneaker such as being featured in the Official Preppy Handbook (however, they didn’t make Billax’s list), but with sleeker lines and more support than other plain canvas sneakers.
I only have a handful of wears in at this time, but so far so good. The price is right at $65 and they are widely available. However, I have heard that they aren’t what they used to be. To that I say, “What is?”
Knit ties are a great choice for those that want a casual looking tie. Cotton knits are especially casual. Silk knits are also casual, but they are a notch dressier than cotton. Knit ties are easy enough to source in solid colors and stripes pop up here and there. They also won’t break the bank. I have wanted a striped knit tie for a while now, but have yet to find one that speaks to me.
This is where Old College Ties comes into the picture. Old College Ties got their start back in 2011 making up crew ties for Groton School. Since then Old College Ties has helped to revive the rowing tradition of crew ties among a number of schools. You can read more about their history here (Old College Ties).
One of the coolest features of the site is the tie widget (Thanks for the tip Gamm68!). It allows you to make up ties virtually experimenting with colors and stripes. As you can see from the images above I had no trouble whipping up a few ties that I was ready to purchase.
Old College Tie will make up custom ties for your team, club, or event. The minimum order is 20 at $30 per tie which I found to be quite reasonable. Now what club to join…
We all keep secrets. Sometimes we keep secrets, because someone has confided in us. Other times we keep secrets, because there are things about ourselves that we would prefer remain unknown. This week I have decided to share one of my own secrets. This secret falls into the latter category. Bear with me as I confess to one of my dirty trad secrets.
Fit is something that we (clothes horses) are always going on and on about. If it doesn’t fit it the fact that an article of clothing has all the right retail does not matter. This way of thinking leads to either a never ending number of visits to your tailor or hours in front of a sewing machine. This is where my secret begins.
9 out of 10 times the cuff on my shirts are too large. This looks sloppy even when the sleeve is the correct length. Now this is an easy fix. You simply remove the button and re-attach it a little further away. This is what makes my secret so bad. I am not avoiding much work at all. What I do instead of addressing the issue is to double over the cuff so that it is attached to the button from the outside. This makes the sleeve tighter. It also creates a little chaos around the gauntlet button, but it is not easily detected by the untrained tie.
I hope that some of you can relate to my secret. I am sure that I am not alone in taking short cuts to artificially improve the fit of my clothes. I have a few more secrets that I will be sharing in the future. I also want you to know that I have moved the buttons on most of shirts at this time. Please forgive me for my transgressions. What secrets do you have?
Wimbledon is well under way and I am sure that many of you have already hit the court more than a few times. During my search a pair of classic golf shoes (See here), I ran into this tongue-in-cheek post about court attire from The Glengarry Sporting Club (The first post in well over a year). The article made me laugh which is reason enough to pass it along.
The article paints a picture of the sport that makes it clear to the reader that the “game” is not limited to one’s athletic ability. Tennis in this instance is as much social as it is an athletic pursuit. The post is filled with witty lines about how to succeed on this court. For example,
Color should be provided by the ball, the court surface, and your tan. Otherwise, stick with white. It really isn’t just for Wimbledon.
But what if said quality (old simple shoes) results in discomfort on the court? It has happened to me and all I can say is that there is no better reason to stop play for a drink of water (or a sip of your Bloody Mary if it’s that kind of club.)
The contrast of a clean white crew sock above a scuffed-up or clay-stained sneaker sends a message to your opponent: I’ve never not been doing this.
For those of you that are taking the article (or yourself) too seriously this line will add some perspective.
Naturally, I recommend you take all of this with a grain of salt. If score matters, go technical. None of this need apply in the world of leagues, ratings, or sponsored tournaments. Even I keep a pair of fairly recent (mostly white) Asics on hand for when a match is anything other than fun. (But it’s always fun, really.)
Here is a link for the full read: Playing Court to the Classics