When I transitioned from student life to the working world my wardrobe transitioned along with me. One of the first things that changed is that I no longer had a pressing need for casual clothes. Now when I went shopping if I saw a pair of broken-in chinos with distressing or a pre-faded OCBD it garnered a reaction of superiority from me. I would think to myslef, “I will wear out a pair of regular chinos and an OCBD soon enough. I do not need to wear pretend clothes or invest in worn-out clothes to look cool.” At least this is what I thought I at the time.
Fast forward a decade and I am not so sure that any of the above the above is true. A few months ago I was reading about the history of the 3/2 roll when I saw my self perceived ability to withstand the fashion industry’s attempts to influence me crumble before my eyes.
There are two schools of thoughts about the origin of the 3/2 roll. One school claims that the 3/2 roll was created to mimic the roll 3-button jackets often developed over time. The other school claims that the 3/2 roll was a unique feature that was not created to mimic a broken-in 3-button jacket. I won’t dive any deeper into the history at this point. The important part is to remember that one school sees the 3/2 roll as inauthentic as I see prefabricated broken-in chinos or distressed OCBD.
The next item to shake my convictions was the brushed Shetland (pictured above). I have heard many people claim that the brushed Shetlands were not created (and sought after) because it makes the rustic Shetland wool softer, but because the result looks similar to an old worn sweater. I have no proof of this either, but again it is a plausible argument.
What does all this mean? For me it means that I need to remember to be humble. While I want to think that I have transcended the reach of marketing and fashion I have not. The desire to look cool is still very much alive within me (and always will be) even if my idea of cool is very very square.
Our friend Roycru recently was featured on Keikari last month. You may remember him from my post on waistcoats (see here) in which he was kind enough to allow me to use his images. I especially like this Keikari post because not only does it provide inspirational images, but it also allows us to get to better acquainted with Mr.Roycru. His dry sense of humor compliments his style well and vice versa.
One of the most relevant quotes for this blog comes when he is asked to describe his style. Roycru responds, “I have always thought (as do most of my friends) that it’s English style, but people in England (and the rest of the world) think it’s American style.” I will admit that in the pre-internet days I thought something very similar. Head over to Keikari for the full read (and more pics!): Keikari Full interview
I love wearing cords. They come in great colors for fall and winter, they drape well, and to top it all off they are comfortable. Sounds just about perfect, right? I would have to agree, but lately I have been experiencing a little difficulty preserving the life of my cords which is concerning to say the least.
I was getting ready for work the other day when I noticed a worn out patch of wale on my cords. My immediate reaction was panic as I pictured a swarm of wild moths devouring my closet. Moments later I came to my senses when I remembered that cords are not moth food (they only eat animal fiber).
After ruling out moths and other cord lusting creatures as the cause of the wear to my cords I took a closer more studious look. After careful examination I came to the conclusion that there were only two patches of worn out cord on the trousers. Each patch is located one on the back of the leg about ¾ the way up the calf. Clearly rubbing is the culprit.
Now that I know the cause of the problem I have a new question: Is it my cords or is it cords? My Lands’ End cords that are over two years old look pretty bad (pictured above). My newest pair which only have about 1 year under their belt are showing wear as well. On the flip side, I have a pair of 18 wale cords that are 10 years old that do not have any of this wear. What gives?
Here are the questions that I am left with. Is the problem with my cords quality? Are wide wale cords more susceptible to wearing out than finer wale cords? Do I wear my cords exceptionally hard? Am I expecting too much life out of a pair of wide wale cords?
In this edition of the United States of Trad I would like to introduce William Colby (1920-1996). Colby was a Princeton grad, OSS veteran, CIA agent and a controversial CIA director, but most importantly to this blog he knew and wore the look well.
I have had William Colby on my list to feature ever since I was introduced to him by the seemingly defunct blog with a cool name, The Quiet Trad. I think that the pictures alone can explain why. What I like most about Colby from a style perspective is his consistency. Similar to Moynihan (and why I like Moynihan as much as I do) is that he dressed in the Ivy League style during the boom, but unlike so many others he pretty much stuck to the look until the end which in this case was a mysterious death in 1996.
I was reminded of Colby this week by a book review of Cloak and Gown: Scholars in the Secret War, 1939-1961. The book review thread by Talk Ivy’s Armchaired is as good as its name, “Spy Ivy…….Yale,the OSS, the CIA and Anglophile Ivy Roots.,” and is a great follow up read. There is also a documentary available on Netfilx directed and narrated by his son, The Man Nobody Knew: In Search of My Father, CIA Spymaster William Colby.