Archive for November, 2017

My Two Scents

Not that long ago I was shopping around for a new cologne. I was using Brooks Brothers classic, but at the time I wanted something else. The gist of it is that I wanted something that wore longer and better. It turns out it was not the cologne that was the problem.

The truth of the matter is a little embarrassing. What I learned in my search for a new scent was that I was wearing cologne all wrong. My routine consisted of spraying it on after I was fully dressed. I can hear a few of you laughing now, but I promise that I did not know any better.

It turns out that you are supposed to apply cologne directly to your skin. Most people suggest a single spray to the chest. This was a game changer for me. After I started to wear my Brooks Brothers cologne correctly I noticed how much longer it lasted and the scent was much more interesting. I was a happy man.

I did not change colognes, but I did make one other change. I added Brooks Brothers aftershave to my routine. Again, this change helped me carry the scent longer and more noticeably, but not in an overwhelming in your face way. I hope that someone out there can learn from my ignorance or at least have a little chuckle at my expense.

How to Choose a Trad Sweater?

I get a lot of questions about sweaters which is cool, because I love sweaters. The question I get asked most often is what type of sweater to get.

Before I get started I want to let you know that I will not be answering the why Shetland sweaters are trad question, because I don’t actually know. I believe Brooks started selling them in 1905, but I don’t think that is the answer. I am guessing it was a mix of warmth and availability. Here we go.
Shetland sweater with vestFirst and foremost you should look for sweaters that are 100% wool. This is an easy way to sort out inferior products in terms of construction and performance. I am sure there are good poly mixes like the old Bean Norwegians, but this the exception. Stick with 100% wool.

Above I said to stick with wool, but I really do recommend Shetland wool. I like Shetland wool because it is substantial enough that the shirt underneath does not show through. Not in a see through way, but in that it shapes the sweater. Shetland also has enough texture to be interesting. If you want something finer Lambswool can work just pay attention to how it looks over an OCBD.

Always go with the crew neck. Crew necks were one of things I was most drawn to when I started to learn more about trad clothing. It just plain looks cool. It looks especially cool with a button-down collar underneath. Always where a button-down collar underneath. However a long sleeve tee may work on the weekend. If you want to wear a v-neck I suggest pairing it with a tie and sport coat.

My last piece of advice is to get a sweater with saddle sleeves. Essentially this means that there is no shoulder seam. The saddle sleeve looks a little more refined than a set-in sleeve. It is what helps Shetlands work so well in an office environment. It also gives them a nice natural shoulder.

In terms of colors start with the basics. I recommend mid-grey, charcoal, and navy as a foundation. Then add a green or burgundy to the mix. You can wear these sweaters a lot without people noticing that you are wearing the same sweaters.  After you have the basics in place you can go crazy.

When it comes to picking out trad sweaters this is the foundation. Just remember to look for 100% Shetland wool sweaters with crew necks and saddle shoulders.

Sid Mocs

I have written about my adoration of camp mocs on more than one occasion. I currently own 2 pair, but I still have a gap to fill. While making my rounds on the web last week there was a pair from Sid Mashburn that caught my eye.

First let’s cover why I love camp mocs. You can wear them year-round while their cousins the boat shoe are generally relegated to warmer months (Not that I always adhere to this. See Boat shoes with socks). They are also a little more rugged than their cousin. I would call boat shoes the blue blazer with gold buttons with a little more prep connotation while camp mocs are the slightly more trad tweed jacket. Also, they look cool. Real cool.
Sid Mashburn Camp MocWhy do I need another pair? As I said, I have 2 pair. One pair are Sperry gold cup 1-eye boat shoes. The other are L.L. Bean Signature camp mocs. The Sperry’s are great without socks, but a little too tight with socks while the Bean mocs run big one me and I can only wear them with heavy duty wool socks. You see where I am going. I something in between. Here is where the Sid mocs enter the scene.
Sid MocsSince I don’t have any experience with this shoe I will let Sid tell it,

Somewhere between Native Americana and New England… and handsewn in Portugal? Go figure. A higher vamp and a slimmer shape make these a little more polished than your average camp moc. They’ve still got the traditional leather lacing and rubber sole. The harder you wear them, the better they get. (Especially sans socks.)

Overall I think the Sid mocs ($150 – see here) look like contenders. Like the shape. I like color. What I also like about them is that the price is high enough that I will expect decent quality, but does not venture into Rancourt or Quoddy territory. Not that I don’t eventually want to head that way.

Fall = Flannel

Since the weather has turned cooler I have consistently reached for a flannel shirt during the weekend. I have specifically reached for my Lands’ End Black Watch shirt, but any flannel will do when because when it’s cold and wet outside these soft warm shirts are where it’s at.
Black Watch Flannel Shirt
I already know the first question that you are going to ask. Why didn’t I buy the L.L. Bean Scotch Plaid Flannel shirt? It’s the trad classic. It’s Inexpensive ($49.95), available, and there are lots of great Tartan options. Good question and great points! It all comes down to fit and L.L. Bean does not fit me well. I find it to run large. If they fit you I am envious. They are a good deal.
Lands End Buchanan TartanI was excited to find an alternative for those of us that can’t make Bean’s fit work. Lands’ End has been doing a great job of bringing the Tartans this year (see my Sail Rigger post) and it is appreciated! I purchased the Black Watch a few weeks back and have worn it every week since.

I like it so much that I am thinking of grabbing another. Usually I would go Dress Campbell, but it looks a bit off to me. Luckily the Dress Stewart is close to perfect and the Bucahanan Tartan is speaking to my inner outdoors man.
Dress Stewart Flannel Shirt
If you don’t have a Tartan flannel shirt this might be the time. If Bean fits you there are options over that way (See here)and if not LE might have you covered (See here). Either way they are a nice way to add a little color in the mix while staying completely comfortable.