Archive for April, 2015

Top of the Pops: The Popover Preview

It felt like I did a little summer bashing last week so I thought that I would return this week with a pro-summer post. While I don’t find too much to look forward to in terms warm weather clothing mostly, because it doesn’t offer me too many work friendly options it does offer a lot of casual options and what is summer without casual!

One of my favorite warm weather items is the short-sleeve popover shirt. The popover was created by Gant in the 1960s and they continue to make them today. The image above is a current popover by Gant who know seems to call them “pullovers”. The style has seen a resurgence in popularity over the last 5 years. Currently they are offered by everyone from J.Crew to O’Connell’s Clothing. Below are my top 3 popover picks of the season. Gingham Popover1. Brooks Brother Gingham Seersucker ($69.50) – I am a big fan of small scale gingham patterns in blue. Patterns in smaller scales are much easier to wear than large patterns. This short-sleeve popover is also made from seersucker in cotton which is an especially good choice for staying cool in hot weather. I also like the shorter 3-button placket. This shirt is available in Regent and Madison fit. J.Crew Coral Popover2. J.Crew Cotton/Linen Popover in Coral ($75) – I spoke about needing to add a little more color to my wardrobe a few weeks back and this is the type of shirt that could help me do it. The textured cotton-linen fabric looks great in this soft pink color. I could see pairing this with British or stone khakis. The flap pocket is a nice touch. I prefer a dress shirt hem over the square hem on this popover, but it is still a nice shirt nonetheless. Pink Seersucker Popover3. O’Connell’s Clothing Pink Seersucker Popover ($165) – This is by far the priciest popover on the list, but it is still worth featuring. This made in the USA popover features single needle tailoring and the lightweight pink seersucker fabric is the epitome of summer. The placket on this popover is too long for my taste, but it is the traditional length. O’Connell’s once again proves that they can do anything well, but that you will have to pay for that expertise.

Above are just a few of the great popover choices out on the market right now. If you are looking for more options J.Crew seems to be putting out more than anyone at this time, but checking the usual suspects should be fruitful as well. This is one item where I actually prefer an updated look with a shorter placket. If popovers are your style I might consider stocking up on a few at the end of the season. It is hard to tell when items like these will once again become a thing of the past.

Warm Weather Wear

I am excited that it is getting warm. I love spending time outdoors. I have already tuned up my bicycle and I am ready to suffer through another season of learning how to golf. What I am not looking forward to nearly as much is warm weather clothes.
Yellow Harrington & Clipper Blue ShetlandUnlike the joy I get from putting on the first Shetland or pair of cords of the season most spring and summer clothes leave me cold. I do like a nice muddy green, blue, and brown madras. I am also happy to wear shorts, because that means that it is warm and I am not at work!
Kelly Green Baracuta and SweaterTo be honest most of the time that I wear color it is for the benefit of others. I would be happy in a blue OCBD every day, but I am self-aware enough to know that the monotony of that can wear on others. A few items that I have recently used to help add a spring color to my rigs are my two Harrington jackets (Kelly Green Baracuta & Pale Yellow PRL) and two spring-ish Shetlands (Salmon & Clipper Blue). While they are all very colorful the fact that they are all layers and can be easily removed is great for me. Even better is that I like all of these colors on me.
Pink ShetlandI may have come a little more curmudgeonly in this post than I intended, but I promise that I am excited for summer. This post is not about me hating pastels, linen, or seersucker along with anyone who wears the stuff. It is about knowing yourself. The better you understand what you like and what works on you the less likely you are to regret purchases or even worse, ending up at a great summer party unable to enjoy yourself because you aren’t comfortable in your own clothes.

The Solid Surcingle Belt

I will continue with last week’s theme of simplicity and accessories, but will move down from the wrist to the waist. That’s right, I am talking about belts. Not any type of belt, but the surcingle belt in solid colors. Before I get too far along in this post I should define what a surgincle belt is (actually I will let Wikipedia define it for me),

“A surcingle belt is a belt having a web body with leather fittings on either end and a frame style metal buckle. The web is usually a heavy wool twill and may be solid colored or longitudinally striped, or embroidered with a repeating motif. The leather ends are sewn onto this, and are generally narrowed. Surcingle belts are conventionally considered an element of casual dress. They are strongly associated with the preppy subculture.”

Olive Surcingle with TweedThere are two things that I think make this belt so versatile. The first is the solid color. What I like most about solid colors is they are easy to forget (or hard to remember?) which is also why I prefer solid colored sweaters. It is much more likely that people will notice how often you wear an item with multiple colors compared with a solid colored item. It also takes less thought when getting dressed. You don’t have to give much consideration to matching or clashing. Madras Shirt & Olive SurcingleThe second feature about this belt in particular is the color olive. Olive has long held a place in traditional American clothing whether it be olive chinos, an olive tweed sport coat, or an olive Shetland. Like most things Trad olive is understated. I find that it works with almost every rig that I put together. It adds a bit of color, but never commands attention. The solid surcingle can not  only add color, but it can also tone down an item such as madras shirt (see the example above).

There are two points that I would like you to take away from this post. The first is to consider adding a solid colored surcingle belt to your arsenal. It is an easy way to add color to your outfit without adding too much color. The second is to consider a quiet color. While I am a proponent of olive I also think that natural or navy are great options. In fact, my next surcingle will be natural.
Surcingle Belt w/ UniformLast, but not least the surcingle belt is extremely versatile. I have shown it above with sports shirts, dress shirts with ties, blazers, tweeds and in every season. If you add one to your closet I think that it will prove itself  to be a valuable asset.

For more about the surcingle belt I encourage you to check out The Weejun’s post on surcingle belts. It is an oldie, but a goodie. You can find it here: Whatever Happened to the Surcingle Belt?

One-Man Band

As I was taking off my watch the other day I noticed that it may be time to give it a wash (pictured below). After further inspection it was clear that my favorite watch strap has seen better days. It is not at death’s door yet, but it is time to start thinking about its successor.
Shetland-Sweater-and-WatchbandWhen it comes to finding nylon watch straps the good thing is that you don’t have to look far to find some great inexpensive options. I always recommend the Central Watch’s 5 for $30 deal on their nylon straps, but there are also great options at O’Connell’s, J.Press, and J.Crew.

If you are looking for an actual NATO style band (They do have a military history, but it does not involve NATO troops.) I suggest checking out Smart Turnout. They have an impressive collection of regimental bands. However, If you have smaller wrists such as myself you may find NATO straps a little bulky due to the excess length which is why I avoid them even thought I love the utilitarian design.

O'Connells Grommeted band

The watch band that I have my eye on over at O’Connell’s. It has great colors, but I am not sold on the grommetts. 

I used to switch my bands out regularly, but over the past 2-3 years I have become a one-band type guy. I am not sure if this because I have begun to wear ties a few days a week and that satisfies my need for color or if I am just growing more boring by the day. Either way it won’t hurt to add another to the collection!