Ending Summer

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It’s Labor Day weekend, the kids are back in school, and inevitably focus is shifting from madras to Shetland as summer is beginning to fade. There is no need to worry. There is still plenty of time to get out there and enjoy summer before it becomes a blip in the past. Take a cue from the pictures below of young Manhattanites enjoying the Hamptons in the 1960s courtesy of the NY Daily News. Also, enjoy all shots of the madras, loafers, surcingle belts, and popovers!
Hampton VacaIona College SweatshirtMadras
Girls in CarsDancingKissing in CarsMore DancingOn the porch

Bills’ Two Button Sack in Harris Tweed

Brown Check

Bills Khakis’ latest offerings include the rare triple patch pocket sack sport coat in Harris Tweed. What makes this jacket even more unique than all the other 3 patch pocket sposrt coats our there is that this is a 2-button sack. This is not an unheard configuration (It is actually a feature that is synonymous with the Andover Shop), but is less common that the 3/2 sack if that tells you anything.

This jacket comes in at just under $1,000 and is offered in two different Harris Tweeds. While not cheap the price is in line with competitors offering Harris Tweed (these are probably from Southwick) in a sack cut. I was encouraged when I saw these jackets. It gives me hope that the sack jacket will be around as long as I am. Take a closer look here: http://www.billskhakis.com/harris-tweed
Bills Brown Check 2 button sackBills Herringbone 2 button tweed sack

The “Soft Shoulder Shuffle” by The Hook Vents

Everybody's Dancing

While I may appear stuffy, curmudgeony, and all kinds of fuddy duddy I do like to have fun! So when I heard the “Soft Shoulder Shuffle” by the Hook Vents I knew that I had to share it. You can check out their song here: The Hook Vents  This band is composed of a few Ivy League fanatics that definitely get it. I hope that it makes your day like it made mine!

Lyrics to the “Soft Shoulder Shuffle”

Verse 1
This here’s the soft shoulder shuffle, I do it all the timeSoft Shoulder Shuffle
The rags I wear may be old, but they’re looking mighty fine

Button down collar with a button in back, when the ladies pass by
they know I’ve really got the knack

Strides pressed and clean and barely touchin’ my shoes
With that ivy league look you know you just can’t lose

Verse 2
Herringbone tweed with a 3/2 roll,
Come along baby now let’s take a little stroll

If it’s cool outside don’t you worry one bit
Just take my mohair sweater and cuddle up in it

All the cats on the street know there ain’t no other way
Gather round boys, here’s what I have to say

Chorus
Do the soft shoulder shuffle
(3-2 roll)
Do the soft shoulder shuffle
(It’s good for the soul)
Do the soft shoulder shuffle
Oh yeah
You do the soft shoulder shuffle
(Come on now!)
You learn the soft shoulder shuffle and you always be feeling fine

Verse 3
Now all you sloppy dressing silly lookin’ men,
Take a lesson from me cause I’ll say it once again

You need a flannel suit and a slim knit tie
A hopsack blazer and now you’re really gettin’ by

It’s a stubborn look, just won’t go out of style,
If you follow my advice, it’s sure to make you smile

Chorus
Do the soft shoulder shuffle
(Soft shoulder shuffle!)
Do the soft shoulder shuffle
Oh yeah
Do the soft shoulder shuffle
(Herringbone Tweed!)
Do the soft shoulder shuffle
(All that you need!)
You do the soft shoulder shuffle and you always be feeling fine

 

Size Matters: Collar Points & Tie Widths

The difference between a full size healthy collar that produces a wonderful roll and a collar that can barely accommodate a tie is minimal. I am talking less than 1 inch. In fact, most of my collars that produce a standard roll have collar points that measure 3.25”, but I do have a few shirts (new-ish LE Hyde Parks) that have 3” collar points, but produce zero roll. While a collar this size does not lend itself to wearing ties. It can be done. It just requires a little more thought.

The key is to match the proportions of your collar to your tie. This is no different from the consideration that you would give to tie width and lapel width. Getting the proportions right between these three elements (Collar length, tie width, and lapel width) will allow you to wear some of the skinnier or wider items in your closet with a little more ease.

3” Collar

Tie Width Range: 2.75″ – 3.25”
Optimal: 3”

A shirt with 3” collar points works best with ties that range from 2.75″-3”. A skinnier tie has a smaller knot which works to keep the proportions in check. You may be able to get away with a 3.25” tie, but I don’t recommend it. There will be no collar roll to speak of.
3 inch collar                                                                         3″ collar with a 2.75″ tie.

3.25” Collar

Tie Width Range: 3″ – 3.50”
Optimal: 3.25″

3.25” is the current standard for collar points. I say this because it is the size of the current Brooks Brothers OCBD which has always defined collar roll.  It is also the size of current J.Press OCBDs as well as the size of my older Land’s End Original Oxfords.
3.25 inch collar                                                                      3.25″ collar points with a 3″ tie.

3.5” Collar

Tie Width Range: 3.25″ – 3.75”
Optimal: 3.5″

Although the 3.5” collar is a rarity it does still exist primarily due to the demand of collar roll enthusiast. These shirts are usually vintage, bespoke or MTM. For example, Mercer and Son’s collars points measure 3.4375 inches. A collar this size will produce a full collar roll, but can still accommodate a 3.25” tie (with a sturdy knot). For those of you that have found that 3.5 – .3.75” ties work best for you (and collar roll fanatics!) may want to seek collar points of this length.
3.5 collar                                                                          3.5″ collar with a 3.25″ tie.

For many of us having a closet full of collar roll producing button-down shirts is the goal, but most if not all closets have a few underachievers. Hopefully this post can help you get some use out of your button-down shirts with shorter collar points as well as a way to wear that skinny tie that you just couldn’t resist.

United States of Trad: John R. Bolton

Bolton Featured Image

It is time to put our political differences aside and celebrate the fact that “the look” is still alive (, but not well) in US politics. This edition of the United States of Trad pays tribute to one man that is keeping the trad flame burning. His name is John R. Bolton.

The son of a fireman, born in Baltimore, Maryland Bolton went on to attend Yale University. He has since spent his career in public service as well as working for prestigious law firms, think tanks, but is probably most well known for being the 25th United States Ambassador to the United Nations (or perhaps for being a Fox News Channel Commentator).
John Bolton Repp TieIt is not Mr. Bolton’s accomplishments in the world of politics that has earned him a spot here, but rather his dress. I have never seen Bolton without an OCBD on (Yes, even when wearing a suit.), his selection of ties stays well within traditional guidelines (He primarily sports striped ties with the occasional neat or paisley mixed in.), and he often wears a 3/2 sack suit.
John Bolton Sack SuitJohn Bolton Sack Suit 2John Bolton tan SuitI do agree with that he would benefit from a few small wardrobe tweaks. The roll of his collar could be improved and his ties would look a lot better with a dimple, and we would all love to see him move to wearing exclusively 3/2 sack suits, but I think that this is just nitpicking.
John Bolton Crew Neck

There are very few politicians that continue to dress in this traditional  American manner. Mr. Bolton, however not only carries on this tradition on the national level, but on an international level working with leaders of the world wearing an OCBD with a suit and a repp tie and for that we salute him.