Summer Blues: J.Press Blue

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If you have not heard of J.Press Blue yet I will fill you in. Blue is Press’s second shot at courting the younger market with “updated classics.” Here is how Press describes the line,

J.Press Blue is our newest collection in the J. Press brand. J. Press Blue represents a modern evolution of the long established J. Press heritage. The collection is more modern, with an updated, youthful flair. The new line is a direct descendant of J. Press heritage, inheriting the appreciation for fine tailoring and quality fabrics. It has slimmer fit with an adventurous use of fabric and prefect details.

J. Press Blue is the embodiment of the J.Press man, who experiments with and tests the boundaries of his more traditional fashion sense.

Press Blue Cord Sport CoatI checked out the collection online and was impressed with their Spring/Summer sport coat collection. The three jackets that stood out to me were the cord jacket ($495), the navy gingham sport coat ($625), and the poplin blazer ($480). All three jackets are 3/2 sack with patch pockets and hook vents. They are moderately priced ranging from $480-$625.
J.Press Blue Poplin BlazerI thought this was a nice mix of warm weather offerings. I am partial to the poplin jacket, because of how much use I get out of my old Brooks Brothers Wash ‘n’ Wear jacket (Wash ‘n’ Wear post). The navy Gingham jacket is very seasonal, but the small scale of the gingham a little more versatile. To round out the options a cord jacket is offered instead of the more common seersucker.
J.Press Blue Gingham Sport CoatIn general these “updated classics” lines don’t turn out so great. York Street left a lot to be desired and Brooks Brother’s Red Fleece fails to incorporate the Trad/Ivy details into their clothing. Ralph Lauren Rugby had its hit and misses, but it taught me a lesson. A sweater that I purchased from Rugby and wear often reminds me to not only take the good with the bad, but to appreciate that good.

J.Press Blue has potential. It has the potential to provide 3/2 sack sport coats with all the details at price point that doesn’t deter all, but the die hard. This is a space that I would love to see served as limited availability of Trad/Ivy and the high prices it commands set high barriers to entrance.

We will see were the Blue line goes. Will it do any better than York Street? Will it be around longer than Rugby? Will it fit me? All of these questions will be answered in time. Even if Blue does not live up to my very low expectations I hope that I remember to take advantage of the good items that they have to offer instead of focusing on what’s wrong with overall collection.

Summer Wheat: The Denim Post

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Rarely do you read about jeans on Trad & Ivy forums or blogs. It is a taboo topic. Just to provide a little context around the complex relationship between Trad and jeans, Christian from Ivy Style’s denim post was called “The End is Here: An Ivy Style Jeans Post.” Wheat jeans on the other hand have managed to escape the stigma of their blue brothers and have gained acceptance into the the world of Trad & Ivy.
California Cool1966 World Surfing Team Wheat jeans get their credibility primarily from being a part of the 1960’s west coast prep look. From what I can put together wheat jeans gained popularity sometime in the early 60’s as part of the west coast prep/Beach Boy/surfer look. Wheat jeans were worn right along with Pendletons, Purcells, and all of the other west coast classics that have worked their way into Ivy League closets

There are currently two great threads about wheat denim that touch on their history and where you can find a pair now. AAAT member Gamma68, started the  “The Trad Wheat Jeans Thread.” One of the gems of this thread is member Reuben’s suggestion of getting a pair of wheat jeans from Wrangler. He recommends the Wrangler Cowboy Cut in tan (See here) and others seem to agree. Another great read is Talk Ivy’s, “Surf Ivy/The West Coast Look,” started by Member Tommy. There are a ton of great west cost prep pictures to check out (Like the ones I used above) in this thread.

Wheat jeans are no longer just for surfers on the west coast. Though they still have their California cool vibe they are also worn by the crowd that just doesn’t really like jeans. For this crowd wheat jeans allows them to add a casual denim fabric into the mix without having to give up tan color in which they are so comfortable. I don’t have a pair of wheat jeans myself, but I am contemplating getting a pair.

Spring Showers…Require Umbrellas

New Umbrella

Spring is here. The weather is warmer, plants are growing, and it is raining…a lot. In preparation for the season of rain I picked up a new umbrella and it has already come in handy.

Umbrellas like all things menswear come at every price point imaginable. Derek from Die! Workwear and Put This On has several nice pieces on umbrellas including high-end bespoke umbrellasnot-so-high-end umbrellas, and Umbrellas: Cheap, Expensive, and Everything In-Between. If you are like me, you are looking for one that is reliable and affordable, and perfect.
Brooks Brothers Outlet UmbrellaMy first new umbrella purchase was a mistake (Pictured above). I was out shopping for others when I saw a BB #1 striped travel umbrella at my local Brooks Brothers outlet. I thought that it would be a fun little umbrella to keep in my work bag for pop-up showers. Plus, it was on sale for $10. The first pop-up shower showed up and I nearly broke the umbrella opening it. Time for a replacement. This was all my fault. I know better.
Brooks Brothers Umbrella

I wasted no time starting my search for umbrella number two. I wanted an umbrella with a little bit of color to brighten up my “uniform” . I struggled to find any that fit the bill until I saw a Brooks Brothers umbrella in their signature tartan (See here). There were two versions a cream option and navy option. I went with the navy as the cream looked a little Burberry-ish. It was more ($80) than I had originally planned on spending, but it checked all of my boxes.

I had the chance to put my new umbrella to some good use this week. It withstood its first rain storm and the accompanying 20 mph winds. It also garnered a few compliments all while feeling sturdy and well made. However, time and a few more storms will be its ultimate test. My ultimate test will be not leaving it behind while I am out and about.

Signature Item: The Olive Surcingle Belt

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I have mentioned my “uniform’ in the past. It consists of a blue OCBD, British khaki chinos, penny loafers, and one other item.  Now I will admit that I have a strong preference for blue OCBDs, but I don’t think that it is any stronger than my preference for this item. The other item is a surcingle belt. Not just any surcingle belt, but an olive green belt.
Madras Shirt & Olive SurcingleOlive Surcingle with TweedI remember picking out this olive green belt thinking how versatile it would be. It did not dissapoint. I wear this belt with my everyday uniform, my blue blazer and ties, and tweeds as well. It works so well that I wear it 99% of the time. I often have to force myself to wear another belt. Even other solid surcingle belts.

I recently had to replace this belt. It was starting to look rough. I re-purchased the same belt. An olive green surcingle from Leather Man LTD. I did make one change. This time I went with the feathered edge with brown stitch instead of the standard tab. I am glad that I did. It adds a little more sophistication.

The olive surcingle may not become everyone’s “signature,” but it is definitely a surcingle color to invest in. I have tried other colors including navy and tan both of which are both solid options, but navy can be challenging with a navy blazer and tan can cause monochromatic concerns. Olive has proven itself  again and again. There are lots of places to get an olive surcingle. I went with Leather Man, but also check out Barrons-Hunter, J.Press, or O’Connell’s.

Boat Shoes & Socks?

Ragg Wool Socks & Boat Shoes

As warmer weather draws near our thoughts turn to colorful madras, cool wearing seersucker, and of course the eschewing of socks. Today marks the first day of spring, but the weather has a mind of its own and has decided that we will have to put our warm weather gear away for at least 1 more week. If you have already been sporting your boat shoes without socks you may need to add a pair for the upcoming chilly mornings.
Boat shoes with ragg wool socksIf you are still reading after I suggested that you wear a pair of socks with boat shoes let me explain. I am not suggesting that you add a pair of dress socks or white athletic socks. I am suggesting a rustic pair of socks with texture that will turn your warm weather friend into a cool cold weather shoe.

Ragg wool socks are an Ivy/Trad staple. They have all of the traits that Trads value. They are simple, well crafted items that work well, but unlike many Trad items they are also affordable. Ragg wool socks can be had for around $10-$15 a pair. My go-to brands are L.L. Bean (Bean Ragg Sock) and Wigwam (Wigwam El-Pine), but there are lots of other companies manufacturing ragg wool socks so be sure to look around. I also recommend stopping by your local TJ Maxx/Marshalls as these are great places to find ragg wool socks for cheap.

Soon the weather will be too warm to even consider wearing socks with boat shoes. Yes, that statement means that I am strongly against the wearing of socks with boat shoes outside of what I have described above. Even no-show socks. The sock-less look (and feel!) is not for everyone, but neither are boat shoes. For those of you that want to wear socks with your boat shoes I suggest a pair of Camp Mocs (like the ones on the left). These will not look out of place with socks just don’t wear them with socks and shorts!