End of Summer Tartan Shirts

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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.

Papa Needs a Brand New Bag

Me and My Bag

My current work bag (pictured below) was a more or less a lucky find. It is made by Billy Kirk’s lower tier label Brothers Bray. I first saw it in a Urban Outfitters ad. I liked its drab colors and simple construction. Its utilitarian design spoke to me. Plus, it was right around $100. After 8 years of service my bag is now approaching retirement I am starting my search for a brand new bag.
Current BagI started my search at Filson. Filson sells the trad bag which is the Filson Original Briefcase (see below). I am sure that my bag’s similarities to this classic bag is what caught my eye in the first place. However, priced at $325 the Original Briefcase is not cheap.
Filson Original Brief Case

Looking for more affordable options I spotted a few great looking alternatives at L.L. Bean. One of the bags is labeled as a tote and the other two briefcases, but I think that all of them would work well in our business casual world and would be a improvement over the backpack trend that I have been seeing over the last few years.

The L.L. Bean West Branch Tote ($159) – This bag is strikingly similar to my current bag. The only thing that it is missing is the olive green accents. Priced at $159 this is a good looking bag. It is high on my list. If I go this route I will probably switch out the brown shoulder strap for an olive one.
West Branch Tote
The L.L. Bean Heritage Waxed Messenger Bag ($149) – This bag is similar to my current bag, but is also noticeably different. It has the olive green accents that I like, but it lacks a leather bottom which in exchange gives it a more casual look and feel. Overall it is a great looking bag at a great price.

Heritage Waxed Messenger Bag

The Sportsman’s Briefcase ($119) – This bag is actually very similar to the Filson Original Briefcase. Albeit it is not as rugged the Filson, but to its advantage it has a great 80’s Original Preppy Handbook vibe. On top of that it is probably the most professional looking of the bags that I have listed, but I could see it being confused as suitcase.
Sportsman's BriefcaseI hope this list helps out all of my fellow office dwellers. With the need to carry laptops, tablets, smart phones, and an assortment of other work supplies a bag is a necessity of the modern professional. These bags will make your day-to-day life easier while still retaining some semblance of trad style.

Transition Time

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The dog days of summer have set in making the days long and hot, but don’t get too distraught as fall days filled with Shetlands and tweeds are just around the corner. Over the last the week I have used this time of transition to fill holes in my summer wardrobe and to get a head start on fall.

My first purchase was a new bathing suit. I had grown tired of my previous pair of trunks. With summer sales abound I picked up a deeply discounted suit from PRL. I am not sure if  this the most trad pattern, but it is what I like.
PRL Bathing Suit
Next I picked up a Varsity Town’s “Madisonairre”, brown tweed herringbone jacket on the secondhand market. I am very excited about this purchase. A brown herringbone tweed has long been on my want list (See my list here). It has all of the details that I look for (3/2 roll, dartless, swelled edge, hooked vent) minus patch pockets. I am still working out the fit details. More to come on this, but until then check out this post from Ivy Style on the Madisonairu (See here).
Brown Herringbone Tweed 3/2 JacketSummer is great for outdoor fun and I am not looking forward to its end, but it is the least exciting sartorial season. Now is a great time to spend a humid afternoon indoors taking advantage of summer sales and planning for autumn. I am off to find a pool.

Red Ties & Navy Blazers

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I wear a navy blazer a lot. I would say that I have been wearing a navy blazer at least once a week for the last 3 years. I have learned a few things in that time. One of those things is that red ties work really well with them.
Red Tie & Navy BlazerRed Ties & Navy Blazers 2In hindsight it seems like this should be a no-brainer. Contrast is one of the most important elements in putting together a rig. However, my knowledge of color theory is non-existent so I learn what colors work by two methods. Learning from others is my most effective. There is no reason to reinvent the wheel. The other is trial and error which is why I recommend the first.

in the end, red ties just work with navy blazers. When I say red I also mean burgundy ( I told you that I have  no background in color theory). These are the ties that I reach for most often. If you are new to the navy blazer or have trouble pairing a tie with them give a red or burgundy repp tie a shot. It is usually a hit.

Bits from Billax

Billax Collar Roll Featured

We were all bummed out when Billax left the blogger scene. It sucked. It was like when Heavy Tweed Jacket shut down his blog in the past. It’s not that I don’t understand, because I do. Blogging comes with a lot of baggage and sometimes you need a break. Heavy Tweed Jacket returned in the form of Tumblr (Heavy Tweed Jacket) and Billax was just recently spotted by Put this On the blog posting on the Menswear forum, Style Forum.
7 OCBDS with Collar RollBillax post on Style Forum does not disappoint. The king of collar roll showcases the collar roll of 7 OCBDs in this order Mercer (Pink Uni Stripe), The Knottery, J. Press, Brooks Brothers, Land’s End, O’Connell’s, and Kamakura. For those of us who are obsessed with button-down collars post like these are invaluable. For more details on the comparison check out the his full post here, Billax on Style Forum.

If this post did not quench your thirst for Ivy League Style advice dispensed by someone who lived through these times I have another link for you. Prior to Billax launching his blog he would allow me to publish some of his long form forum posts. This link will take you to these posts – Billax archive on the OCBD blog.