Archive for July, 2013

The Details

I am not very good at taking pictures. In even said taking pictures on purpose, because I do not think that what I do should even be confused with the word photography. I have always known this, but it was thrown in my face last week when I was out on a bike ride. I found myself out in the country staring out across the country side in awe. I took a pic, then another, and yet another, but I could not capture what I was seeing and feeling. I have a similar problem with my outfits, but I think that there is one exception which are my close-ups pictures.

My close-up pictures, at least in my opinion, often capture the essence of my outfits in a way that I cannot with a full body shot. It could be the combination of textures, a better look at the color and contrast of color, or the intricate pattern that isn’t always visible when viewed from a distance. It is also these details that make the outfit. I have included a few examples of my favorite pics below.

Tie & Collar RollSweater & Tie

Jacket & SweaterJacket ComboMadras shorts & BeltPink & BurgundyLavender & Olive

Tweed, Paisley & CordsCords & TweedSweater & Watchbandnavy pink watchSweater Tartan WatchWinter LayersTartan & Vest

Mummy Knows Best: The Look for Women

Every once and while I will get a question from a reader about women’s fashion. This is not my area of expertise, but I do have some thoughts on the subject. I started to pull together my ideas for a post, but after looking over them I realized that the OPH (Official Preppy Handbook) does a much better job than I could and there is no reason to reinvent the wheel. Straight from the OPH, I bring you Mummy Knows Best: The Look for Women.

Mummy Knows Best

Vintage PRL ad

There is one sartorial goal for Preppy women: To look like mummy. It starts with mummy/daughter bathing suits and gingham dresses. Then daughter starts borrowing the clothes her mother wore in Prep school. Before long, they share a charge account at The Talbots, and their wardrobes are virtually interchangeable. They what they like: The ultimate accolade for a piece of clothing is “useful” (with “cute” a close second).

1. Men’s Clothes – Either actual garments from the man’s wardrobe (button-down shirts, Shetland sweaters, anything from L.L. Bean), or near imitations. The blue blazer, the khaki skirt, and the gray flannel suit are cornerstones of the female Prep’s wardrobe. Some women go as far to shop in the boy’s department at Brooks, and have things (slightly) altered.

Girl in Barbour

Barbour for her

2. Navy Blue – The new neutral, it is the automatic first choice for shoes, purses, suits, sweaters. It serves as the perfect foil for colors that do not exist in nature – shocking pink, poison green, brilliant yellow, windex blue. Purple is not Preppy.
Girl on a boat


3. Don’t wear black – With the exception of evening clothes (never say “gown”) and the little black dress, black clothing (shirts, sweaters, bathing suits) make you look like a fast woman.
Very LBD

Fast LBD

4. Someone else’s clothes – Other people’s things have inherited charm. Your roommate’s needlepoint belt, your boyfriend’s Lacoste, your mother’s old hacking jacket are all very classy.

girl in man's jacket

The always classy Sarah Vickers in something borrowed: Classy Girls Wears Pearls

5. Underdressing – Always in good taste. Key advice from Mummy: “Get completely dressed for a party, then take off one piece of jewelry.”


Keep it simple

6. Layering – Turtlenecks, then oxford cloth shirts, then a fair isle with three buttons undone. Women often dispense of the crocodile (Lacoste) layer, in the fear that it will make them look fat.


A Yalie & His Clothes

I was recently alerted to an article over on Yale’s Alumni magazine blog.  This post features one man’s memories of his days at Yale and how clothes played a strong role in his experience there. What makes this post more interesting than most of the posts about Yalies and their sense of style is that this man was not one of those men.

In fact, he recounts attending his freshman welcoming address feeling ignorant of the “rules.”

As my classmates and I converge on Woolsey Hall it is obvious that they all seem to know something that I do not. When finally all seated, we have fused into a dark gray flannel blanket, with occasional dark blue flecks, with the sole misweave where my respectable, not quite electric, but decidedly sunny, blue plaid suit seems to glow.

I imagine that the other student looked something like this.

Yale Students


More Yale Students

Pictures above from the The Men of Ivy League Style Tumblr

And as we already know most Yale men are born into this style. Even if they do eventually stray.

GHWB & Son

George H.W. Bush and a baby George W at Yale

However, facing sartorial adversity as a college student is now a fond memory.

When I see the B. Gordon hanger in my daughter’s closet I simply cannot forget what an outstanding student I had been. As I walked to class, it was impossible not to notice my other purchase, my purple corduroy jacket bobbing in a sea of Harris Tweed sport coats, many with leather elbow patches over unworn elbows.

I survived. Maybe my fashion exceptionalism built character. Or perhaps my classmates learned about diversity and acceptance. No matter. But I still wish that Mr. B. Gordon had been on speaking terms with Mr. J. Press.

 I wonder if he now returns to his Alma Mater looking like this? Click here to read the full story.

Yale Man Grown Up

Picture from

What is Collar Roll?

Collar roll is one of the most distinguishable characteristics of traditional American clothing. However, when I was younger I had no idea what collar roll was. I always thought that collar roll was the byproduct of shirts that no longer fit their now older and heavier owners. Looking back I should have been able to make a stronger connection between the appearance of the collar roll and the type of people that I saw sporting this look, but I just guessed that they used to be in better physical condition. The inability to recognize the beauty of the collar roll should clue you in to the fact that my father was not trad.

Fast forward 15-20 years and I am a collar roll fanatic. Basically, there are two types of collar roll; the Liberty Bell and the Half Dome. There are many factors that contribute to getting a collar to roll such as button placement, neck size, and collar length. However, creating the Liberty Bell or Dome Roll can be manipulated by the wearer.

Dome Collar RollThe Half Dome Roll

Liberty Bell Collar Roll

Liberty Bell Collar Roll

Lately my collar roll preference has been changing. I used to aim for a hybrid roll that falls somewhere between the Liberty Bell and the Half Dome. The problem that I ran into is that when trying to achieve this roll I often ended up with the Half dome. This happened so often that I actually started to embrace the dome, but I eventually started to see the beauty in the Liberty Bell. There is something organic about the flow of the liberty bell roll as the oxford cloth cascades over the tie. I think that this is the roll for me.

My Collar Roll Evolution

Hybrid Collar Roll

Hybrid Collar Roll (It resembles a wider bell shape than the Liberty Bell Roll)

Hybrid Collar RollMore Hybrid Collar Roll

Hybrid Roll

Here you can see the Hybrid Roll starting to come undone.

Dome Roll

The Hybrid has now morphed into a full Half  Dome Roll.

Liberty Bell Roll

Liberty Bell Collar Roll

Perfect Roll

Bad pic, but near perfect collar roll. You an really see the bell shape in this pic.

Almost Perfect RollAnother bad pic and good roll.

I hope that everyone enjoyed the pics. I tried to provide a few good examples of the Half Dome roll, liberty Bell roll, the Hybrid, and even a few care-free-live-and-let-live rolls. It is also a chance for you to check out a few of my ties in action. What type of collar roll do you prefer?