The Modern Trad

One of the biggest struggles for those of us that adhere to the trad look is well… looking contemporary. The classic look that we all know and love definitely skews dressy in today’s casual workplace. Due to this I like to highlight items that help to push trad forward while at the same adhere to the trad aesthetic. I just spotted a few such items from the French workwear Vetra. you are not familiar with the name Vetra I am sure that you are familiar with bold blue chore jackets that are synonymous with the brand. NYT’s Bill Cunningham might be the other biggest association with the brand. Bill wore them well. To cut to the chase not only are chore jackets uber popular now, but they also bleed over into the current indigo rage.

While the chore jacket is cool, Vetra has some even cooler choices for us trads. These cooler jackets are very similar to Keydge Slack jackets which are also cool and ivy, but are hard to source here in the US. The Vetra jackets that I spotted and liked are 3-button with flap pockets and are extremely slouchy. The icing on the cake is that the pricing is not outrageous ranging from $165-300. I have included my 3 favorite’s below.

Vetra - Heavy Jersey Workwear Blazer in NavyVetra – Heavy Jersey Workwear Blazer in Navy $170.00

Vetra - Light Cotton Canvas Workwear Blazer in Overdyed KhakiVetra – Light Cotton Canvas Workwear Blazer in Overdyed Khaki $165.00

Vetra - Japanese Denim Canvas Suit Jacket in Washed IndigoVetra – Japanese Denim Canvas Suit Jacket in Washed Indigo $275.00

If you are a young guy that wants to start a sport coat, but aren’t quite ready to go full on blue blazer and repp tie this coudl be a great place to start. At the same time if you are an old school die hard trad you may want to think about adding one of these to your closet and break it out on casual Friday, the weekend, or even on vacation. If you don’t fall into either of those categories like myself you may just want one and that’s okay too.

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

8 Comments on "The Modern Trad"

  1. HerrDavid says:

    I have one in olive and it’s served me well as a nice piece of casual gear. Slouchy and comfortable with a robust cloth you don’t have to worry about mussin’ up. And funny you mentioned vacations–here’s a photo of me wearing mine (w/Brooks OCBD & 501s) on vacation last summer: (I don’t normally wear it with the top two buttons done or with the collar up, but it was unexpectedly chilly day.)

    I’d be interested in picking up another in navy, but the only one I can find for sale is the one at Unionmade and I’m leery of that “jersey” cloth.

  2. oxford cloth button down says:

    Herr David – That is a great look and exactly what I am talking about in terms of dressing down a sport coat. I also agree with you about the “jersey” cloth. It might work well or just almost work.

  3. Gary says:

    Point is well made, Ox, and this is a good example. I find in trad there’s the dandy pitfall and the dowdy pitfall. It can be difficult to steer clear of them both. One either looks costume-y, i.e., trying too hard, or boring and old-fashioned. The best choice — the classic look — is somewhere in between. Adding contemporary pieces to the wardrobe helps, so long as they are not trendy pieces. It also helps, in my view, to pull from other parts of the trad stockpile as it were, to mix things up with looks from the 1960s surf look, for example, or from more casual campus looks from the day.

  4. Fred says:

    I’m glad to see that you are looking at a modern take on trad. Trad was in its hey day around fifty years ago. Trad has evolved and I don’t want to dress like it’s 1966. I want to take the trad ideas and evolve them into today. That’s the intellectual challenge. What is the modern equivalent of trad. What does it mean to be trad in 2017?

  5. Fred says:

    I want to make one more comment: fit is everything. Sid Mashburn has done a great job of taking trad ideas and making them modern by focusing on fit.

    These jackets look great (and I appreciate the source of inspiration), but I would not feel comfortable wearing them unless I had them tailored to fit really well.

  6. oxford cloth button down says:

    Fred – Thanks for the comment. I thought that I would share my thoughts briefly on the trad style. IMHO, the heyday style was called Ivy League Style which lasted until the late 60’s early 70’s when the look started to be called Preppy and then sometime in the 90s it morphed into Trad. I need to nail the dates down a little better, but I thought that I would point out that I think Trad is far removed from actual Ivy League Style even though it incorporates many of the same elements.

    • Fred says:

      That’s interesting – thanks for sharing! It would be great to nail down the date range. Like anything, those years I’m sure are fluid.

      My uncle went to Harvard in the 50’s and he was required to buy the ivy uniform to attend class.

      I get the sense that ivy quickly devolved on ivy campuses starting around 1967. At some point they dropped the requirement that you must wear the uniform when attending class. Was that the beginning of the end?

      Another style icon – JFK jr. He just grew up with the style from the day he was born.

      He was very well grounded in ivy, trad and preppy and sort of evolved his own style in the 80’s until 1999. I wish he were still with us today because I would love to have seen how he dressed during the last eighteen years.

  7. Jesse Martinez says:

    I love these versatile jackets – I have several from Marks and Spencer (we were living in Ireland at the time) and last summer, scored (generally dislike this term, but it fits in this case) a navy blue Anatomy chore jacket at an estate sale for $3.00! This jacket is so beautifully made and comfortable and can even get scrunched up in a carry-on and look great hours later getting off a plane. Sadly, Anatomy went out of business ages ago.

I would like to hear from you