Sweating the Small Stuff by Billax


The following is a reprinting of a post by Billax. Billax is not only one of my style role models, but a friend and a man that was Trad back when it was called Ivy League style. He has allowed me to share many of his thoughts all of which can be found here: Sneakers by Billax, loafers by Billax, Uprising by Billax

“Sweating the small stuff” is at the heart of a number of detail oriented endeavors and projects. In underwriting securities, the Banker and the Analyst sweat the small stuff. Every risk factor is covered, every significant corporate assertion is fact-checked, and the financial statements are double and triple checked with the auditors. Big software projects “sweat the small stuff” to assure security, interaction with other software systems, and protect against hacker attacks. Hmmm. Given the massive problems with a current big software project, I’ll modify my assertion to say that all big software projects, SHOULD sweat the small stuff.

On a much less consequential level, I’d bet that each of us sweats the small stuff in our attire. I ‘sweat’ some things and overlook others. I turn a blind eye to details that are unimportant to me. I suspect that each of us would have a different list of the things we sweat and the things we don’t. Here are my ‘sweat’ and ‘no sweat’ lists:



• Collar roll

• Tie dimple

• Matching the color of tab leather on surcingle belts to shoe color

• Edge dressing on shoes

• Cuff no break

• Jacket buttoned when standing, save when wearing waistcoat or sweater vest

• Every time I get dressed, I get my gig line straight

 No Sweat:

• Tie bottom above or below belt

• Shoe laces tied exactly perpendicular to tongue

• Pocket square, if it’s easy to find an appropriate one, I will, if not, then not.

• Wearing seasonal shoes (e.g., white bucks) beyond their annual expiration date

• Matching blade width of tie exactly to lapel width

• Matching sock color to pants or shoe color, especially when worn with sweaters or sport coats

• Etc….

 So, what do you sweat and what are you unwilling to futz around with?

oxford cloth button down
Jerrod Swanton is a simple man interested in simple, classic, and traditional style.

3 Comments on "Sweating the Small Stuff by Billax"

  1. Alan Gray says:

    I’m with you on everything, except I also sweat getting my shirt tucked in tight every time I hit the head (hey, you said gig line, so you know what I mean.) I’ve always done it by reaching in through my unzipped fly and pulling down the shirt tails front and back, but I think I’m in a minority in doing it that way.

  2. Bill says:

    I do something very similar, Alan. Should we both be worried about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder? :-)

  3. oxford cloth button down says:

    Here is my list.

    What I sweat:

    100% Wool sweater (and the occasional cotton)
    Must Iron Chinos
    Must Iron OCBDs
    Collar Roll
    Tie Dimple
    Tie Length
    Tie Width (3.25)
    No break
    I always Iron my chinos
    I always carry a comb
    Shaving (2-3 passes)

    What I don’t sweat:

    I have never shined a pair of shoes
    Belt and shoes matching
    Buttoning a jacket when standing (like in the office, not at an event)
    Shirts ironed perfectly
    Matching or contrasting socks
    Pocket square

I would like to hear from you