Archive for February, 2014

Zachary Deluca the Man Behind Newton Street Vintage and More

Zach DeLuca

Zach Deluca the owner/operator of the Newton Street Vintage the coolest mid-century clothing shop around and recently announced Assistant Editor at Ivy Style was just interviewed over at Keikari. Among other things, Zach touches on how his desire to look like his rock ‘n’ roll heroes got him into clothes.

“Somewhere out there is a photo of me at 18, imitating young Bob Dylan imitating old Woody Guthrie. I was into jeans at first. Vintage Levis. I went nuts for them. I remember seeing in the liner notes to the Bruce Springsteen Live 1975 box set that Bruce had an orange tab on his Levis, and it started a relentless hunt for that orange tab that opened up the world of vintage.”
Interview_with_Zachary_Deluca_from_Newton_Street_Vintage_at_Keikari_dot_com (1)
One of my favorite parts of the interview is when he compares learning about clothing to learning about cooking.

“You learn about clothes by handling clothes in the same way that you learn about cooking by working with food. Years ago I was also desperate to learn how to sew and construct, so I paid a local tailor/patternmaker for private lessons. She was great and really helped me get a firm foundation in construction methods.”
960s Brown Olive Houndstooth Tweed
He goes on to talk more about his Etsy shop, the opportunities it has created, and his philosophy on style. Do yourself a favor and check out the full read over at Keikari (here) among the other great articles offered on the site. Also, be sure to watch for his pieces over at Ivy Style, and take a look at his Tumblr The Suit Room. Zach definitely knows his stuff and we are lucky to have him offering up his awesome vintage finds at Newton Street.

Sport Coat, Sweater, No Tie

Sport Coat, Sweater, and No Tie

I saw the picture below on the Heavy Tweed Jacket blog and it inspired me to give the sport coat, sweater, and no tie look a try. In general I am not a fan of wearing a jacket of any sort without a tie, but this picture convinced me otherwise. There is a timeless quality and an informal sophistication about it that made me think this look was worth exploring.
Inspiration Pic #2One of the problems with wearing a sport over a sweater is that it requires a roomier sport coat to properly fit. Luckily for me, I had acquired a grey herringbone Brooks Brothers jacket that was a touch to big. Not quite big enough to get rid of, but big enough that it spent more time in the back of my closet than being worn.

I tried the combination on two separate occasions. On my first attempt I paired the jacket with a grey cable knit sweater from Brooks Brothers and a blue OCBD. Even though the colors were similar in shade I thought that the herringbone and cable patterns would provide enough contrast to make it work. In my opinion, it was a success.
Grey Sweater and Grey Sport CoatCable Sweater and Herringbone JacketOn my second attempt I tried to add a little color. This time I paired the jacket with a burgundy Rugby sweater (I should have bought more of these when they went belly up.) and a blue university striped OCBD. I personally like this combination the best, but that’s not surprising considering that I love university stripes and burgundy sweaters.
Sweater and Sport CoatRugby Sweater and Sport Coat

I found the sport coat, sweater, and no tie combination to be a winner. I think that it can be an especially useful look if you work in an environment where ties are unwelcome, or if you are attending an event that is casual (especially if it is outdoors), but you want to make use of a sport coat. In these situations, the sport coat can truly serve as a piece of outerwear replacing the need for a coat. You can also remove the sport coat when indoors as you would a coat to reinforce its casual nature. This is a look at that I can see myself putting to good use as winter fades, but the warmth of spring still lies ahead.


The Socioeconomics of Prep


I have been removed from the academic environment for quite a few years now, but I still enjoy reading a scholarly article especially when it deals with something that I am deeply interested in. I was recently directed to a an Honors thesis by a Senior in Cornell’s College of Human Ecology for Fiber Sciences and Apparel Design entitled, “The Origin and Evolution of “Prep” and its Socioeconomic Relevance.” Naturally, I was intrigued.
Origins of PrepThe title makes the intent of the article clear, but here is an expanded explanation:

“Thus, the aim of this paper is twofold. First, I seek to clarify and substantiate the origins of prep style, its relationship with American collegiate culture and the national class structure, and its evolution as a fashion subculture.”


“Next, I strive to attain a clear understanding of the cultural and socioeconomic significance of preppy fashion at that time in history, its function as an essential arbiter of class for the American aristocracy.”

Origins of Prep 2The paper was an interesting read and one of the most comprehensive texts that I have read on the subject. However, one area that I think is overlooked in the paper is the co-opting of the preppy look by mainstream America that occurred prior to the 1980’s. The author states that,

“This gradual growth in the popularity of the preppy look was later punctuated in the 1980s with a boom of commercialization and public infatuation with this style.”

But there was a similar boom of commercialization that occurred in the 1960’s which created a generation of people from middle class origins that adopted this look which influenced later generations as well as the dress code of corporate America.

Although this co-opted look is a watered down version of what was termed “Ivy League Style” it can still be considered “Preppy.”  I only interject, because I believe that this earlier boom removed a lot of the socioeconomic status that was previously associated with this look by making it readily available to those of average means.

Origins of Prep 3Nonetheless, this is an excellent piece and I encourage everyone to read the full text (You can find it here: For those of you who are not interested in reading the dense 55 page text I will cut to the chase for you. The author concludes that,

““Preppy” continues to possess a sense of cultural capital that provides implications relating to the lifestyles, attitudes, and aspirations of individuals who choose to don this look.”

I will let the reader evaluate the validity of this conclusion for themselves. However, I applaud the author for taking on this topic and doing such a thorough job at it. A great follow-up read is Christian Chensvold’s The Rise and Fall of the Ivy League Look.

Express Yourself

When it comes to getting dressed there are a few considerations that I always make such as “Where I am going?”, “What season is it?”, and “What is the weather like?”. If I am getting dressed for a special occasion or an event then I try to dress in a way that shows respect for the event, but more importantly to the host. Seldom do I find myself dressing in a way the expresses how I am feeling that day, but it does happen. This post is about one of those days.

Lately I have been feeling a little overwhelmed. Work has been crazy, dating is hard, and the winter weather is wearing on me as well (This year is in the top 10 for below zero temps for my area.). The stress was building and I could feel myself getting a little more frustrated day by day until I woke up one day and  knew that I had to snap out of it.

Manneken PisThe Tie Manneken Pis

When I was getting dressed I remembered the tie that I had received from my friend Worried Man (Thanks!). This tie features the Manneken Pis (Which literally translates to Little Pee Man.) a famous landmark in Brussels. The origin of the sculpture is surrounded by multiple legends, but I had given the tie my own Chippesque meaning by renaming it “Pissing in the wind.” I thought that this was perfect occasion to break out the tie.

Looking Grumpy                                                           Me Looking grumpy in a shawl collar.

As soon as I put the tie on I felt a little bit better. I threw a shawl collar cardigan on over top to provide some coverage for the little guy, but because of the historical significance of the tie I was not too worried about being reprimanded at work for it. Throughout the day my spirits were lifted by the tie and I smiled to myself quite a few times as I thought about the subversive meaning that I had attached to it.
Oxford Shop LabelMADE IN U.S. A. LabelLooking back I think that expressing my frustration with my wardrobe was much more constructive than keeping it all inside. Instead of declaring defeat I relied on humor for one of its most beneficial uses which is coping life’s challenges and had fun doing it.