Is the LHS in Danger?

The abbreviation LHS needs no explanation. It is the loafer for trads, but that may be changing. This isn’t because the much beloved shoe has stopped making unlined cordovan LHS for Brooks Brothers or due to the infamous Alden shoe scandal (see here). It is far more nuanced than that.

LHS stock seems to be dwindling if not disappearing. What has been replacing it is being termed the LMS by Alden enthusiasts. For those that don’t know LHS stands for leisure handsewn and that’s exactly what’s in question. The loafer that seems to be supplementing the LHS stock the LMS is not handsewn, but machine sewn. While this seems like a minor change and it is for most part, but us trads view change (at times even progress) as the enemy. The hand stitching that resulted in small bumps now looks flat, dressier, and kind of lifeless.

Snuff suede LHS
The Alden LHS
The Alden LMS

Why are they doing this? This part is easy to identify. It’s a people problem. The people with these skills are aging out of the workforce and finding people that have these skills is getting harder and harder. Alden is not alone here. It’s a systemic issue that stretches far beyond menswear sphere.

Alden isn’t trying to pull the wool over our eyes. These loafers do have their own model number. For example, the snuff suede pair LMS are 6221 vs the snuff suede LHS’s 6243. On the other hand I have noticed some shops like Shoe Mart to call them “Leisure Penny Loafer” which could lead to some confusion.

Now I am not one to spread FUD. This could easily be nothing more than a short term stop gap or even a new loafer model that will stick around and potentially grow on the trad community. Worst case scenario is that the LHS will slowly vanish from shelves never to return. If you are like me and don’t own a pair this could be our time strike armed with just enough FUD to justify a $600 loafer.

Shorts on the Horizon

I’ve been down and out with the flu all week. I managed to make it out of bed yesterday, but I still haven’t got one single fit off all week. What I have done this week is sleep. A lot of sleep. While sleeping I also dreamed a lot. I dreamed about warm weather and wearing shorts. My fever dreams left me thinking that I need to add 2-3 pairs to the lineup this year. I’d like a batik pair and a non-fatigue olive pair, and potentially a pair in linen (yes, I said linen). Below are my current shorts. .

Madras Dump

Madras season is rapidly approaching. Opening day is officially Memorial Day with Easter getting an exemption. While I used to observe this arcane rule (and many others like it) I have since replaced it with a much simpler rule which is if it is hot, wear it. In celebration of the fact that warmer weather is on the horizon and to help me assess my current madras shirt situation here is a dump.

JPress Madras Popover

J.Press Madras Popover

John Simons Madras

John Simons Button Front Madras

Proper Cloth Madras

Ralph Lauren Rugby Madras

Polo Madras

The Flap Pocket OCBD That I’ve Never Seen

Brooks Brothers Flap Pocket OCBD

Anyone who has spent anytime here in Tradsville knows what a flap pocket OCBD is and who makes it. If you are new around here it’s the shirt above with the flap over the chest pocket and it’s made by J.Press. It’s not the only OCBD with a flap pocket, but it is the flap pocket OCBD.

Not too long ago while doing some online vintage shopping at Placid Vintage I spotted a vintage Brooks Brothers OCBD with a flap pocket. I did a double take. I had never heard about a Brooks flap pocket let alone seen one. Sure I had seen flap pocket OCBDs from brands new and old like Ralph Lauren, Michael Spencer, Kamakura, LL Bean, Ratio, Gant, etc., but never Brooks. This OCBD appeared to be a custom makeup, but still I was shocked.

BB Flap Pocket OCBD

Here is why this is so interesting to me. J.Press added the flap pocket during the 1950s to distinguish itself from the competition. What I had always assumed is that the competition was Brooks Brothers. Now here is the competition adding the detail to their shirts that J.Press added to be different. That had to be extremely flattering and a little aggravating or maybe the other way around.

Brooks Brothers Flap Pocket

I thought about this some more. Maybe Brooks wasn’t their competition at this time. There were plenty of other popular OCBDs back then such as Troy Guild, Gant, Sero, and many more. So maybe I am reading more into that than there is to be read. A revisionist history per se. Then I found an old Ivy Style turned J.Press blog post seems to confirm that Brooks was indeed competition. That blog post also contains some interesting OCBD history about how J.Press, Gant, and Sero origins were all intertwined. You can check that post out here. The moral of this story is that yes Brooks Brothers did make a flap pocket OCBD.

A Quick Preview

O'Connell's OCBD

I have been slacking off. That’s not totally true. I have been busy. Just not with the blog. I do have a few things in the works so I thought I’d give you a preview real quick.

Here’s what’s coming. I snagged a J.Press Pennant label tweed from the sales section. It’s hard for me to find RTW sport coats that fit. This line might be the one for me. I have a lightweight unlined OCBD from O’Connell’s for the approaching warm weather and a pair of their chinos on deck. Both look promising. That’s it for now. Reviews to come soon!

J.Press Pennant Label Tweed Sport Coat

O'Connell's OCBD