A Cool Chino Post


I wear chinos almost everyday. They are a trad staple. They are an important part of my daily uniform as they are for a large portion of the business casual population. Due to this they are always in demand as we will always need a new pair to replace the old, but keeping up on the style, fits, and changes can get overwhelming. Lucky for us Blogger Red Clay Soul has put together a great Chino post (see here).

An example of my uniform that includes chinos.

In the “Khaki Spectrum” post Red Clay Soul explains,

Khaki pants will NEVER go away.  They are an integral part of the preppy uniform, and they are the go-to for business casual.  Pledges love them, and sometimes hate them.  After a few years they become disposable (or shorts), but you’ll be hard pressed to find a more comfortable pair of pants after they are broken in.  The style(s) of khaki pants live in a spectrum.  There are some that would be considered dress khakis, that go with dress shoes and loafers, all the way to more utility khakis that go with boots, and the pants that fit in the middle.

He goes on to summarize 12 brands of chinos with which he is familiar. He also segments them by noting which are appropriate for dress shoes and which work with boots. I found this post useful and thought that of all of you would as well. Head over to Red Clay Soul for the full post (see here) and check out a few more of his posts while you are at it.

The Ragged, Tattered, and Torn OCBD

Tattered Collar

I truly did not think that I would see this day. I have read of it and I have even seen pictures of it, but I still thought it more myth than certain reality and then last week it happened to me. My trusty OCBD that had a charming amount of fraying now has a hole in its collar.
No blog has probably done a better job of documenting the Ivy & Trad virtues of well-worn clothing than Ivy Style with articles such as “A Frayed So: In Praise of Beater Clothes.”  It was there where I saw my first OCBD collar riddled (pictured above) with what looked to me like symptoms of an insect problem not true wear and tear. This is where I was wrong.

Prior to springing a leak my shirt showed no signs of being on its last leg. It was worn to the office the week before. I put it in the wash frayed and it came out with a hole. It was part of my core rotation of 12 OCBDs. So it sees action about once every other week. I may have worn this one more than others without being aware of it (They do all look the same). However, upon further inspection two others are showing signs of being structurally weak in the same area.

I learned a few things this week. I learned that collars do get holes in them naturally without the shirts being worn well past their prime. I also learned that this batch of OCBDs all of which are from Lands’ End were purchased in 2007 and 2008. That is not a bad value at all when you consider that this shirt still has a very long life ahead of it. It may not make it to the office anymore, but it is just starting to get good and I didn’t even have to use sand paper (Princeton Boys and The Sandpapered Shirt Collar).

Watch Band Wash up


My main watch band was in need of some attention. I say main, because I have worn this band 99% of the time for the last 2 or 3 years. I say it needed attention, because not only was it starting to look dingy but it was also developing its own smell.

 Before Washing

Luckily for me I remembered reading something somewhere on cleaning watch bands. The somewhere was a menswear forum and the advice was from Ask Andy Trad veteran’s Patrick and Ensiferous. These two suggested soaking watch bands overnight in water with a teaspoon of dishwasher detergent.

 After Washing

Last night I gave it a try. I purchased a small bottle of dishwasher detergent at the grocery for $3. I filled a small plastic container with hot water added a teaspoon of the detergent dissolving it before adding in my watchband. This morning I pulled it out of the container, rinsed under tap water, and let it try off.

My watch band is not good as new, but it looks and smells so much better! I thought that I may have to throw it away, but it has a lot of life left in it. This is good news to me and this band, but bad news for all of my other watch bands that were hoping to get some playing time.

Quick Cord Roundup


Last week I had one foot in summer and the other in fall. This week there is no looking back. I opened up my closet to examine my fall line-up and what I found was a need for a new pair of cords. I jumped online and found a few corduroy options to share.

Cords, Sweater and Vest

Lands’ End has rolled out there fall cords ($79). They have a 18-wale and a 14-wale, but more importantly they offer a tradly 10-wale cord (see here) as well. They are available in both their tailored and traditional fit. I will be interested in hearing how this year’s trousers fit. They offer the traditional tan, but also have a nice color called Brown Umber. I have a pair in this color and I have found it very versatile (pictured above). On the downside my previous pairs of LE cords have had an extremely short self life (Worn out wales). Tread lightly.
Brooks CordsCorduroys pants have also surfaced over at Brooks Brothers ($108 – See here). Brooks offer 14-wale and an 8-wale. They come in the Clark and Milano fit. I don’t have much experience with Brooks trousers, but I do know that most trads prefer the fuller Clark fit, but as we all know fit is different for everyone. Brooks also has a very nice green color. On top of that it was nice to see the tassel loafers paired with them on the website (see image above).

O’Connell’s (O’Connell’s Cords) has there cords out too, but thats no suprise because they always offer their cords! I have heard nothing but good things about O’Connell’s corduroy trousers, but like most things at OC they are not cheap. The prices range from $100-200. Sizes are limited, but they do have the best offering in terms of color.

Corduroy trousers are invaluable in the fall/winter. They have a great texture, they are warm, and you can dress them up with tweed or down with a Shetland. As you can see there are already a few corduroy options available. If you see a pair that you like I would order them sooner than later. I have learned the hard way that cords tend to sell fast which is why I am posting about them now!

End of Summer Tartan Shirts


Here in Ohio I have been noticing summer drawing to a close over the past 2 weeks. We have been experiencing both summer and fall temps with Autumn in the air. Everyone is getting excited for the cooler weather and all of the layering that comes along with it, but until then we still have to deal with heat. This is the time of year wear a muddy madras shirt in browns, blues, and greens is indispensable, but I have found another late summer option in my poplin tartan shirt.

I have always thought (and still do to an extent) that tartan shirts are strictly for fall and winter wear. However, there seems to be a tradition of trads sporting tartan shirts in lightweight fabrics during the summer. I say that because these lightweight tartan shirts can be found at O’Connell’s and Mercer’s. I also recall seeing some from Brooks Brothers in the past and J.Press having them in walking shorts.
Gordon Broadcloth

Mercer & Son’s Dress Gordon in Broadcloth ($155)
Tartan Shirt in Broadcloth

O’Connell’s Blackwatch Shirt in Broadcloth ($145)

One thing that I found interesting about these shirts are the patterns. These shirts are primarily made in Dress Gordon and Blackwatch Tartans. This is great for me as Dress Gordon is by far my favorite tartan with Blackwatch being a close second. I seem to recall seeing some in Dress Stewart, but I could not find one available at this time.

As the weather transitions and the colors of summer start to fade lightweight tartan shirts make a great pairing. The poplin will keep you cool while the tartan colors are a nice nod to the changing weather. Additionally these shirts can be worn when warm weather is far far behind us and we are dreaming of madras again.