Archive for February, 2023

Back to Guatemala and Down to Fitz Roy

Update: Leather Man Ltd. reached out to me after discovering this post and generously wanted to offer my readers 15% off the blue Guatemalan belt (see here). Use coupon code OCBD at checkout!

New belt alert. I posted about my Guatemalan dogs surcingle belt years ago (see here). It has been a great belt. It’s fun, it adds a pop of color to my uniform along with a touch of personality. At the same time it is still kind of low-key because it’s only a belt. I like this belt so much that when I saw the denim Guatemalan belt being offered at Leather Man LTD it was an automatic purchase.

My new Guatemalan patterned belt has been a hit (see above & below). I like it a lot. Maybe even more so than the dogs. People also like it. I have gotten quite a few compliments on it. One thing that I really like about both of these belts is that they feel trad, but at the same time they break out of the typical nautical and upland hunting box that we often find ourselves in when it comes to motif belts.

I said belt, but that should have been plural. I added a 3rd patterned belt and it’s not a surcingle. I am pushing the bounds of trad with this one, but it’s still well within my own wheelhouse. The new belt’s a Patagonia friction belt with the pattern basically being the Patagonia logo (which is a stylized depiction of Monte Fitz Roy) without the words Patagonia. Typically I am not a logo-centric guy, but this one is fun and I will admit that I do love some Patagonia. I have figured out a few combinations where the belt looks good. For example, I think it looks great with my Carhartt pants and denim shirt (see below) as well as my classic khaki and blue OCBD uniform and of course my most casual pairing of khaki pants/shorts with a grey-t.

I picked up both my Guatemalan belts from Leather Man Ltd. and the other from Patagonia. Leather Man ltd. (see here) is where I get almost all of my surcingle belts. They have a great selection, great pricing, and what seals the deal for me is their belts are 1.25″ wide where as lot of surcingles are 1.5″ wide (aka too wide). I have seen similarly cool belts such as the African beaded belts at Sid Mashburn (see here) or the polo/woven belts from La Matera (see here). Both are great, but they are priced a bit higher ($150-$200) than the Leather Man belts. I am sure that there are even more options out there if you want to do a little poking around yourself.

These belts all understood the assignment. To me, they all communicate a preppy-outdoorsy-traveler type of vibe that reflect my interest in hiking, camping, cycling, and more recently travelling. They also provide a nice break from the more traditional symbols (whales, boats, dogs) found on emblematic belts which is refreshing. At the same time these belts’ little patterns bring a ton of color to my otherwise staid uniform. Doing all the above for under $50 is what I call a lot of bang for your buck.

These belts are what some people call statement pieces. If you are familiar with the cult classic movie Office Space we might call them flair. I know that I don’t have to say this, but I am going to say it anyways. Statement pieces and/or pieces of flair should be limited to no more than 1 item per outfit. Please do not exceed the recommended limit per outfit.

Patagonia Web Tech Belt

Patagonia Web Belt

Denim Post 2023

Jeans and alligator belt

Are jeans trad? I am only joking, of course they are trad or rather can be trad. Either way I am once again attempting to wear jeans. I have tried a few times in the past, but it’s never stuck. I think the last time that I tried was back in 2020. I actually forget why I got rid of the pairs from that endeavor. Whatever the case may have been they are gone now.

You may be asking yourself, why does he want to wear jeans in the first place? That’s a good question. They haven’t really worked out for me in the past and I find them sort of uncomfortable. They are also jarring to the people I know when I do try to wear them (it will wear off over time). Despite all that I still want a pair. I mean, this is America and everyone should have at least 1 pair of jeans, right? Factor in that I am a dad now and it’s a no brainer. I need jeans. For me they will be something to wear on the weekend. At least that’s how it always starts.

I do know what I want in a pair of jeans. I want a lighter faded blue, a decent rise, and leg that is neither too narrow nor too full. Oh, and I want them to be affordable as well which to me is sub-$100 but I would really like them to come in around $50. I don’t care about selvedge. I do care that they are 100% cotton (read, no stretch).

Using the above as my guide I ended up with a pair of Levi 505s. They had the color that I wanted, the fit is pretty good, and they came in around $50. They aren’t perfect. The waist is a touch big, they are a little long, and they could be a bit more narrow below the knee. I am debating having the length hemmed. I don’t love the double roll, but it can be hard to replicate the original hem too so it’s a toss up at this point. All in all these seem to fit the bill.

This is actually the second time that my search for jeans has ended with Levi 505s. I tried Levi 501s but they were too tight in the thigh and loose past the knee for me. I gave the Wrangler Cowboy cut a go which garner a lot of attention due to being 100% cotton, having a high-rise, and being affordable. Plus they have really cool packaging. They were too baggy on me. I also tried the J.Crew Straight Classic-fit jean (see here) which I was excited about based on the way they looked on site. They ended up being comically large in all dimensions. The 505s must be in my cards.

Now that I had my jeans it was time to wear them. I borrowed a few denim looks that I had recently seen. First up, I stole from my internet friend Peter-Rene. I saw his post on IG (see here) which looked great (see below). I thought, I can duplicate that, and I did. Next, I took from Osamu (see here). His drawing looked so cool and again I already owned similar pieces. I think my version of Renee’s fit worked really well. However, the illustration won in the who wore it better contest.

I am going to keep experimenting with jeans. I know a few combinations that work offhand. I know that they work well with a blue OCBD and a Barbour. They look great with a oatmeal colored shetland as well as the navy LL Bean style Norwegian. I also like them paired with a tucked in shirt and a turned engine buckle belt. I know that some find that combination incongruous, but I’ve always liked it. Look out for more denim content in the future. The big question is, will they find a permanent place in my closet?

Renee’s look which you can see that I stole below.

Osamu’s look which I imitated below.
Jeans, Barbour, and Shetland

Rugged Japanese Ivy Style

The Virtues of the Burgundy Shetland Sweater

Harley of Scotland Burgundy Shetland Sweater

One of the questions I get asked most frequently is what color shetland should I buy. I always suggest starting with grey or navy. The what-after-that question gets followed up with charcoal, forest green, and burgundy in no particular order (It’s a free for all after those are covered!). This particular focuses on the virtues of the burgundy shetland sweater.

I’ve had a burgundy shetland for quite a while. I first purchased one back in 2012 from the now discontinued Ralph Lauren Rugby line. It was brushed and featured suede elbow patches. I loved it. It looked, I am searching for the right word…dressy, refined, sophisticated? I can’t quite put my finger on it, but paired with a blue university striped OCBD and khakis it simply looks great. If I had a meeting where I wanted to look businessy but couldn’t wear a tie this was my go to look.

Over time my Rugby shetland started to look a little worn. It had also started to feel a little snug. Add in that it has shoulder seams when I prefer saddle shoulders and it was a time for a new one. So this year I picked up a Harley of Scotland shetland from in Bordeaux Mix Burgundy (see here). I opted for the standard finish as opposed to brushed. I do love a brushed shetland, but I’ve noticed that they show wear faster than their non-brushed counterpart. My standard finish will probably end up looking brushed in about 10 years anyhow.

The short of it is that I am back in business. I have already got a lot of use out of it. I have zero regrets about my color selection. I have wondered if my affinity for burgundy shetlands has to do with my complexion, but since I am no color wheel expert I will plead ignorance. If you frequently wear khakis I think this color is a great option. It’s a classic collegiate color which is always trad/ivy. It also reminds me of when burgundy/maroon SUVs were popular in the early/mid 90s. It’s a simple and classic look with the a slight touch of nostalgia.

Burgundy Shetland Sweater
My new Harley of Scotland Shetland

Ralph Lauren Rugby Shetland
My old Rugby Ralph Lauren Shetland

Harley of Scotland Burgundy Shetland Sweater

Life Update

For all of you that don’t follow me on Instagram I thought that I should do a life update. A lot has happened in my hiatus. I will keep it short and sweet.

  1. I got engaged!
  2. I got Married!!
  3. I am now a father!!!
  4. I go places now!!!!
  5. Life is good!!!!!

Back Talking Clothes: The 3/2 Roll Roundup

Well, I decided to do a new post. Maybe a 2-year hiatus did me some good. I feel like there is a little bit to talk about in the trad and ivy world, but not many places to talk about it. Let’s kick it off by taking a look at a few current 3/2 roll sport coats and a blazer. I am still WFH btw, but that doesn’t mean that I still don’t dream about wearing jackets and ties, off we go!

First up, Spier & Mackay has recently offered a 3/2 roll sack cut blazer. I have no experience with the brand even though their sport coats and OCBDs get a fair amount of fanfare around the internet (they are almost always out of my shirt size fyi). Their sack blazer looks like a solid debut and looks to have sold pretty well too based on what’s left in stock. Priced at $298 I can see why. This is a good thing. Maybe we will see more sack cut jackets from them in the future.

J.Press has had some nice offerings of lately. I like that they are currently offering quite a few jackets with lower patch and flap pockets. For a while it was all flap and no patch pockets. Which is perfectly fine for the dressier set, but I more of a sport coat and khakis type guy. It might just be me, but there is just something jaunty about lower patch pockets. I hope they continue to offer them.

J Squeeze also have some nice looking sport coats in their newly launched Pennant line. They look like they come with all the right details. Ok, maybe not all the right details as they are alpha sized and I don’t love that they are labeled as pre-order. They are however reasonably priced between $400-450 though. I’m interested to see where this line goes.

The ivy shop across the pond known as John Simons also makes the list. Lately John Simons has been producing more and more of their own clothing. Their made in London Ivy jackets (now on sale) look particularly nice to me. These too have all the details that we want. These jackets are not alpha sized. They are also unstructured and unlined. Unstructured has it’s pro’s and cons. It has a very relaxed look favored by UK ivy enthusiast, but doesn’t always drape so well. Likewise with benefits of unlined jackets. They are very light weight but not always so easy to get on and off. I will say that out of all the sites that I visit John Simons has far and away the best copy. I will leave you with one gem from the site. “Natural Shoulder spoken here!”

Last but not least I saw a nice looking natural shouldered jacket from Uncle Ralph. Like the jackets above it is unstructured making the shoulders maybe a bit too natural. Unstructured jackets tend to show every nook and cranny beneath them. A bit of structure is not the enemy of the TNSIL look by the way. This jacket is also alpha sized. On the other hand it does appear to be a 3/2 roll with no darts which is not so common over at Ralph’s place. The short of it is that to my eye this is a great looking jacket. You can see it being worn in the image at the top of this post to get a better idea of the fits. There are jeans involved so some of you may need to look away.

That’s it for my current sport coat (& blazer) round up. It’s nice to see a 3/2 sack offering from Spier, it’s always good to see JPress still knocking around, John Simons has been making a strong showing of late, and we can all use a reminder to never count out Uncle Ralph. I am curious if anyone has tried out any of the above. If so, thoughts?

I will most likely be back for another post. I might do a life update. I am sure I have a few new pickups I could talk about. All that to say that I have a few ideas. If you don’t follow me on IG and you do the IG thing. You can find me here Oxford Cloth Button Down IG Last thing, where is everyone getting their OCBDs these days?