My green down vest may get worn more than any other article of outerwear in my closet. This is mostly due to its versatility. It can be easily dressed up for “business casual” or dressed down with a sweatshirt for an evening walk. It also provides an additional layer and material to experiment with color/fabric/pattern combinations (especially sweater/dress shirt combinations). I think that the green color of my vest adds a nice pop of color while remaining reserved. Down vests have been a staple in classic dress for decades, perhaps due to the love of outdoor activities or simply for the love of layering.
Although they have been around since the early 1900′s Eddie Bauer patterned the first quilted down vest in 1940. These vests were supplied to United States Army by Bauer. This could partly explain the long standing popularity of down vests. Many of today’s fashion staples are derived from either sport or war. The down vest has roots in both.
Grey sweater | Brown chinos
Brown corduroys | Navy sweater
Brown corduroys | Navy sweater | Green vest unzipped (more color variation)
British khaki chinos | Blue ocbd
British khaki chino | Navy sweater | Tartan Sports shirt
The vest featured was made by Quest and was purchased at a Dick’s sporting store in 2005 for around $50. It has held up well as it has received more than its fair share of wears. I have been keeping my eye open for a replacement and received a Lands End version for Christmas last year. However, it has not replaced my older vest and has only be worn a handful of times.
Old green down vest (bad picture)
lands’ End green down vest
Above are my two vests. There are a lot small differences between the two vests. The color and quilting are both slightly different. I prefer the quilting and color (a touch brighter) of the older vest, however this does not detract from the Lands’ End vest. The biggest downside to this vest is the lack of warmth that it provides. I am unsure of the exact fill of either vest, but I do know the older one is much warmer. There are also issues with the buttons and pockets. The lands’ End version has buttons which don’t seem to hold in heat as well as zippers. Plus, buttons are simply not as convenient as zippers. The pockets are not lined with fleece like my older vest. The lined pockets actually make a big difference when you are outdoors. At least I am learning what to look for in a replacement. The search continues.
*I included the term prep in the title of this post with a little hesitation. I have issues with the word, which I will discuss in the future. I have used it here because it is the most widely understood term for the style of clothing which I am describing.
Things have been been a little hectic lately. Although, it does not take much to overwhelm me as I am a man of routine. I spent all last week painting my living room (see pic 2 – it looks darker in person). Plus, I had weekend plans (sadly this is not the norm). Actually, it was getting dressed to go out on Friday that inspired this short and late post. I was trying to dress casual as I was going out with a friend and I didn’t want to look as if I were still in my work clothes. While selecting my outfit I discovered that dressing casually is hard (see what I consider casual below). What I consider universally casual
What do I know about casual dress? I have learned from my work experiences that people love to dress casual. And that when people say casual they mean jeans. Everywhere that I have worked my co-workers have been excited to wear jeans on Fridays. My new workplace has recently allowed employees to jeans anytime, and they do. Even though it is permitted, I never wear jeans. Not even on Friday. It is not that I hate denim. I just don’t find it to be that comfortable. Friday’s Outfit
I do dress casually at work. I wear khaki chinos and a blue ocbd. I don’t think that it gets much more casual than that. My co-workers on the other hand do not feel that way. It gets even worse for me on the weekend. I tend to want to dress exactly like I do at work, but with clothes that I have worn out at work. My friends do not consider this casual. So, I have been trying to strike a balance keep between looking casual and feeling presentable.
The solution that I have come up for weekends (work remains the same) is leaving my shirt untucked. Believe me, I know that this is a cardinal sin in the world of traditional clothing. I find myself wanting to tuck my shirt it in so badly, but I don’t want to look the same all of the time (just 99%). I am not going to lie, it is not so bad. I am getting used to it. Saturday’s Outfit (Look, I even have athletic sneakers on!)
I am even beginning to warm up to the untuck. As it would turn out the urge to tuck is directly related to the length of the shirt. In pic 3, the shirt is kind of long. In order to compensate for the length I tucked a little bit of the shirt up and under my sweater. This improved the look. In pic 2, the shirt is short. It actually might be a challenge to keep this shirt tucked in. I thought that this shirt worked the best out of the two. I am going to have to continue to work on developing a distinct casual look. I will let you know if I make any more progress.