I know My Rites

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After my recent post on going sans tie I was pressed about my desire to wear a tie. This led led me to do some reflecting. Why do I want to wear suits, sports coats, and ties?¬† I know that I have always liked and been interested in style but I don’t think that this is the driving factor.

What I do think is driving or at least was driving this aspiration is rite of passage. I had imagined that at some point in my life that I would be a successful adult man. I pictured myself working in a downtown office, wearing suits, and carrying a briefcase, but it seems like I missed that boat. When I entered the workforce it was a sea of business casual and casual Friday at best. I pushed forward wearing a tie albeit occasionally. As I wrote a few weeks ago this is not always best for your career. It hasn’t harmed mine yet, but I have learned when and where I can away with it.

Dressing like a business man was something that I had looked forward to happening. Similar to getting a drivers license, voting, or having your first drink is how I viewed getting to wear a tie. It was also a mark of success in my mind. It was part of my rite of passage into adulthood and I feel like I got the short end of the stick, but that’s probably a lot better than no stick at all.

I will leave you with a few thoughts (and lots of ties pictures!). Maybe the real transition was never about the clothes at all, but rather conformity? Perhaps how I feel about not getting to wear a tie is how others felt in the past when they were forced to wear a tie in the office? They hated it, but they did it because they were grown-ups.

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New Spring Shetland

O'Connell's Green Moss Shetland

My new spring Shetland from O’Connell’s Clothing¬† has just arrived and I couldn’t be more excited, but I can already hear the questions. Questions like, “A Shetland in the spring? Why?” and “Isn’t it getting too warm for Shetlands?.” These are of course all great questions.

Light Green ShetlandIf you go back to my Shetlands as Outerwear post (see here) you will get a better understanding. I use Shetlands as outerwear quite often either on their own or paired with a down vest (one of my favorite looks). This is great for me when the day starts around 40-45 degrees. Even at 45-55 degrees I will use the Shetland as a jacket in the morning. Also, I live in Ohio and run cold so ymmv.
Shetland sweater with vestWhat I also mean by spring Shetland is color. Spring colors can range from pastels to bright pink, but to me the key is colors that are related to nature. The light blue Shetland that I used to favor in the spring has just got a hole in the elbow and I wanted something spring like to replace it until I got it repaired (elbow patches coming soon!). There are a few different places to get Shetlands, but I went to O’Connell’s as they have a solid selection and I wanted to throw my friends up in Buffalo some business.
O'Connell's Scottish Shetland Wool Sweater - LemonadeO'Connell's Scottish Shetland Wool Sweater - Kelly GreenO'Connell's Scottish Shetland Wool Sweater - Green MossIn the end I went with a Green Moss Shetland. In addition to the sweater I chose, Lemonade and Kelly Green were in the running. The reason that I did not go with the yellow sweater is that they did not have one in my size. As for the Kelly Green I knew it would not look as good as the softer green would even though I really really liked it. Last thing, I do recommend sizing up as O’Connell’s suggests or just giving them a call for measurements. Here is to warm weather!

Pick Your Battles Wisely

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I wanted to start this blog off with a scary line like, “Ties are dying. It’s almost over.” That would be true, but it would also be misleading because ties have been dying for a long while right alongside of business dress in general. While there is us fighting the good battle for decency we must chose our battles wisely.
Blazer without TieThis post is specifically for all of my office dwelling brethren. Those of you who like myself yearn to wear 3/2 suits, repp ties, and tweed sport coats until our hearts are content. But there are the casual loving others and there are a lot of them. So while in the past I have said that no one is going to give you permission to wear a tie. You also have to know when it makes sense to fall in line and ditch the tie to further your career with the hope that it can return to us one day.
Tweed jacket and No TieI have learned that falling in line is important in two places at my current workplace. These places are large company meetings and client facing meetings with other important people. In my day-to-day I am pretty free to wear a tie as I please, but in the two areas I identified I keep the sport coat and lose the tie. If I am being completely honest I do not hate the look as much I thought that I would. Don’t forget that you can add a Shetland to kick up the trad a notch!

Tweed Sport Coat with Shetland SweaterI hope this does not read that I have given up the fight. I have not. I just want to do my duty to younger readers making there way in the world of work by giving good advice. If it is of any consolation I remember a post that Billax (Billax Posts) one of my style role models wrote about his time at a firm when he had to do the same thing and this was long ago!

The Shirt Jac Look

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I started off my return to the blog with some classic Ivy League style so it only makes sense that I stray from that path almost immediately. Not too long ago I grabbed a chamois shirt jac from J.Crew. I was looking for a way to mix up my casual Friday looks and I thought this worked well in a vintage-camping-hiking-kinda trad way.
Trad Shirt Jac I went with the J.Crew versions for a couple reasons. J.Crew fits me well, I liked the red color, and it looked well made. I had a chance to check this one out in store and it had a nice heavy feel. I was pleased that a size small would work well as outerwear without me having to size up. The red color will contrast well with what I wear most often a blue OCBD and khaki chinos.
J.Crew Shirt JacI have now worn this a few times. It works better over a shirt that is tucked in versus untucked. It received several compliments. The verdict is that people like it. I like it too.

Mixing it up

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I thought that I would get back into the swing of things with some full blown Ivy Style. Now I am one that generally likes to keep it simple which I am sure that this is apparent from my uniform of khaki chinos, blue OCBD, and penny loafers, but sometimes even I mix it up. This is a good example of that.
IMG_7134When I say full-blown Ivy I mean a few things. One, is that the tweed sport coat that I am wearing is from the Hey day and has all the bells & whistles including 3/2 roll, sack cut (aka no darts), swelled edges, and even a hooked vent. Two, is that my tie is on the narrower side measuring at about 2.75″ which is slim for my tastes, but boy do I love this tie. Third, is the tie pattern. Paisley ties are very Ivy.
IMG_7005On to why this is not simple for me. Here you have a brown tweed, a red striped OCBD, and a predominantly green tie that incorporates yellow and red. Why does this work? I don’t have a great answer for that outside of that I liked the way it looked and there is a nice amount of contrast. I am sure that someone skilled in color theory could break it down for you, but I just eyeballed it.

I don’t know what the take away here is except that sometimes it is good to mix it up (Look, no striped tie!) and that I find contrast much more important than matching. Oh, and I am glad to be back posting after my month off. Thanks for the support, it is very much appreciated!