Archive for September, 2013

The Myth of The Slim Fit Shirt

At 5’ 8”and 135 lbs I think that I would qualify as candidate for slim fit shirts, but they are not for me. In fact, I would argue that slim fit shirts are flattering on a very small percentage of the population especially those that are interested in classic style. Instead of arguing point for point I want to illustrate my argument using pictures and a Brooks Brothers traditional fit shirt.

Slim Fit me                                  I have a fairly slim build. Please forgive the appearance of an undershirt.

The Brooks Brothers traditional fit is the roomiest fit that they offer. This traditional fit is too billowy for my own taste as I prefer the regular fit, but I can still manage to make it work and look nice. The trick is all in the tuck.

Brooks Brothers Traditional Fit                                A traditional fit Brooks Brothers shirt fits like a tent like on me.
Extra MaterialMy tucking technique is one of the many versions or variations of the military tuck. First, you tuck the shirt all of the way in. The second step is to grab the excess fabric on the both the left and right side. Then you pull the excess material from each side toward the back of the pant. I tend to use my thumbs when I do this. Finally,  you tuck and stuff the excess material in the rear of the trousers.  This excess material will live in the back of the shirt and trouser area. This is probably the biggest downside to wearing a fuller body shirt, but I think that it far outweighs the negatives of a slim fit shirt.

Shirt Tucked in

                                  With the shirt tucked in I do not think that it looks too billowy at all’.Materila in back of Shirt                              However, there is a build up  of material in the back of the shirt

Why don’t I like slim fit shirts? My biggest issue with them is that they are confining. I feel like I can’t move freely without untucking my shirt. To me this says it all. Trad style is about utility and comfort. A slim fit shirt is not. Lastly they seem to expose my physical build which again I find off putting. I know that I am fit and I do not think that my colleagues and clients need to be made aware of this.

To be fair I am not saying that no one should wear slim fit shirts, but due to their prevalence in today’s market I think that it is important to evaluate if they are right for you. If you are rail thin a slim fit shirt may fit you like a regular fit shirt fits me and that is great. If you spend a lot of time in the gym and you want this to be apparent in your business clothing then maybe they are for you as well, but you are probably reading the wrong blog.  As you can see from this post a Brooks Brothers traditional fit shirt is not optimal for me either, but I do wear the shirt shown with a blazer or sport coat with no problem. The bottom line is don’t let the proliferation of the slim fit shirt infiltrate your closet unless it really belongs there.

Interview at Keikari

I was recently asked to do an interview by Ville Raivio for Keikari, a Finnish website and forum devoted to classic men’s clothing. I was humbled by his request as he has interviewed people much more talented than me.  If you have never checked out his website I suggest that you do. He has lots of great interviews. Oh yeah, don’t forget to check out my interview too! Here is the link: Oxford Cloth Button Down Interview

Brooks Brothers Japan

After my last post on Brooks Brothers reintroduced Own Make line I thought that I would show a few of their other sack sport coat and suit offerings for comparison…from Japan. I had heard that Brooks Brothers Japan was stocking more USA made products than any of their stores here in America. So, I took a look at the Brooks Brothers Japanese website (Suits & Blazers) and while I cannot confirm that they carry more USA made products, I can confirm that they have a nice selection of OTR 3/2 sack sport coats, blazers and suits.

Madison Sack Blazer in Tropical WoolMadison Sack Blazer in Tropical Wool (my favorite piece)

The Japanese Brooks Brothers site is not as robust as the American site, but it what it lacks in variety it makes up for in quality. There are sack sport coats and suits in various fabrics, colors, and to top it all off there are both Cambridge and Madison fits available.

The response to the Own Make line was mixed primarily due to sizing. The jackets offered in Japan seem to be more, well sack-like. Again, I think that the size of the jacket worn by the models plays a large role, but after reading Christian’s review of Own Make over at Ivy Style I am not so sure about that.

Khaki Poplin Sack JacketKhaki Poplin Sport Coat

It appears that the Japanese prefer the classic American look more than Americans themselves. I would love to see the US Brooks Brothers stores offer more sack sport coats and suits in the Madison fit. I think that this would help to satisfy those of us that just want the old Brooks Brothers back. Even better they could just re-release the No.1 sack suit, but I fear that the pattern has been lost based on their reluctance to present it.

And the rest of the sacks from Japan

Madison Sack Suit in Tropical Wool Charcoal Grey

 Madison Sack Suit in Charcoal Grey Tropical Wool

Madison Sack Suit in Tropical WoolMadison Sack Suit in Navy Tropical Wool

Madison Sack SuitAnother Madison Sack Suit

Navy Poplin Sack JacketNavy Poplin

Stone Poplin Sack JacketStone Poplin

 Wool Linen Cambridge Sack in Light Oxford

Wool Linen Cambridge Sack in OxfordWool Linen Cambridge Sack in OxfordWool Linen Cambridge Sack in Oxford

Cambride Hopsack JacketWool Linen Cambridge Sack in Oxford

Brooks Brothers Own Make

I had been working on a post where I discussed my unhappiness with Brooks Brothers current sack suit offerings, but then things changed. Actually, I had the whole post done and ready to go, but I took a look at Brooks Brothers website and saw that they had recently released their “Own Make” collection. I put the old post away and began to reevaluate my feelings about the current state of Brooks Brothers.
BB Own Make Logo                                                                             Image from The Trad

Own Make, as stated on their website is not a new collection, but a rather a reintroduction. Own Make was once used by Brooks Brothers to identify the clothing had been made in Brooks Brothers own work rooms. Check out this post  on Own Make by The Trad.

Brooks Brothers describes the current Own Make as,
“A celebration of Brooks Brothers commitment to domestic manufacturing and our dedication to soft shoulder tailoring that has defined American sportswear for decades…”

The current collection consists of 3 suits, 3 jackets, and a few ties. The new Own Make is also inspired by the style of the 60s. Luckily for us that means all of the suits and sports jackets are 3/2 roll sack jackets, which is very refreshing. All of the items are made in the USA which is accompanied by a higher price tag. The sports coats range from $895-1395, the suits $1298, and ties $125. A bit pricy, but quality clothes always are.

Own Make 101 Hopsack SuitOwn Make 101 Hopsack Suit $1298

Own Make 101 Wide Chalk Stripe Flannel SuitOwn Make 101 Wide Chalk Stripe Flannel Suit $1298

Own Make 101 Chalkstripe Hopsack SuitOwn Make 101 Chalk Stripe Hopsack Suit  $1298

It is hard to judge the shape of the jackets from the pictures on the website. The models appear to be wearing jackets that are at least one size too small, but I do know that the jackets are by Southwick which gives me confidence that they will have natural shoulders.  I do wonder if the jackets are closer to the Southwick Cambridge fit or the Brooks Brothers Cambridge fit? I don’t think that the Brooks Brothers Cambridge was made by Southwick and I have a Southwick Cambridge jacket almost identical to the tweed from the Own Make’collection (see here). Based on this I would imagine that the jacket is not quite as trim as the Brooks Brothers Cambridge, but that is just a guess.
Own Make Donegal 101 Sport Coat                                                                 Own Make Donegal 101 Sport Coat $895

Own Make Herringbone Multi-Plaid 101 Sport CoatOwn Make Herringbone Multi-Plaid 101 Sport Coat $995

Own Make Solid Cashmere 101 Hopsack Sport CoatOwn Make Solid Cashmere 101 Hopsack Sport Coat $1395

I was pleased to see this collection. It is always good to see more 3/2 roll sack jackets being offered and even more so suits, which are getting increasingly hard to come by. One thing that I did notice is that it was not easy to find all of these products on the website, especially the ties. I am not sure why they do not offer a way to view the whole collection. Nonetheless, I hope that Brooks Brothers continues to offer more traditional clothing that caters to those who prefer the  Natural Shoulder Ivy League (TNSIL) look.

Own Make jackets are not the only 3/2 roll sacks that are currently being offered. Bonus pics!

Cambridge Harris Tweed Crowsfoot Sport Coat

                                                     Cambridge Harris Tweed Crowsfoot Sport Coat $698

Cambridge Camel Hair Patch Pocket Jacket

Cambridge Camel Hair Patch Pocket Jacket $698Cambridge Camel Hair Patch Pocket Jacket

 Camel Hair Patch Pocket Jacket $698

Adventures in Thrifting: Main Street, USA

This Saturday I thought that I would visit a couple thrift stores a few towns over that I don’t make it to very often.  Although my trip was not as fruitful as I had hoped I did manage to grab an awesome emblematic turtle tie, eat too many delicious sliders, and enjoy a little Main Street, USA. I also picked up my newly resoled Weejuns on the way out of town. Thanks to everyone who suggested that I try to save them. I hope that you enjoy the pictures!

Setting out for the daySetting out for the dayKeeping it casual on Saturday

Pritchet's Shoe ServicePritchet’s Shoe Service

Weejun's New SolesNewly resoled Weejuns

Main Street, USA

Main Street USAMain Street USA Downtown Main StreetWhat once was

George Bartholomew Stature

Statue of George BartholomewConcrete Streets

Great Homes

Lovely GardenGreat Homes Great HomesMore Great HomesGreat Homes Great Homes

My Rewards

Crabill's Hamburgers

Sometimes you just have to indulgeBag of Sliders A bag of goodness

Turtle Emblematic TieMy cool turtle emblematic

Turtle Close-up