All posts in Accessories

Spring Showers…Require Umbrellas

Spring is here. The weather is warmer, plants are growing, and it is raining…a lot. In preparation for the season of rain I picked up a new umbrella and it has already come in handy.

Umbrellas like all things menswear come at every price point imaginable. Derek from Die! Workwear and Put This On has several nice pieces on umbrellas including high-end bespoke umbrellasnot-so-high-end umbrellas, and Umbrellas: Cheap, Expensive, and Everything In-Between. If you are like me, you are looking for one that is reliable and affordable, and perfect.
Brooks Brothers Outlet UmbrellaMy first new umbrella purchase was a mistake (Pictured above). I was out shopping for others when I saw a BB #1 striped travel umbrella at my local Brooks Brothers outlet. I thought that it would be a fun little umbrella to keep in my work bag for pop-up showers. Plus, it was on sale for $10. The first pop-up shower showed up and I nearly broke the umbrella opening it. Time for a replacement. This was all my fault. I know better.
Brooks Brothers Umbrella

I wasted no time starting my search for umbrella number two. I wanted an umbrella with a little bit of color to brighten up my “uniform” . I struggled to find any that fit the bill until I saw a Brooks Brothers umbrella in their signature tartan (See here). There were two versions a cream option and navy option. I went with the navy as the cream looked a little Burberry-ish. It was more ($80) than I had originally planned on spending, but it checked all of my boxes.

I had the chance to put my new umbrella to some good use this week. It withstood its first rain storm and the accompanying 20 mph winds. It also garnered a few compliments all while feeling sturdy and well made. However, time and a few more storms will be its ultimate test. My ultimate test will be not leaving it behind while I am out and about.

Signature Item: The Olive Surcingle Belt

I have mentioned my “uniform” in the past. It consists of a blue OCBD, British khaki chinos, penny loafers, and one other item.  Now I will admit that I have a strong preference for blue OCBDs, but I don’t think that it is any stronger than my preference for this item. The other item is a surcingle belt. Not just any surcingle belt, but an olive green belt.
Madras Shirt & Olive SurcingleOlive Surcingle with TweedI remember picking out this olive green belt thinking how versatile it would be. It did not dissapoint. I wear this belt with my everyday uniform, my blue blazer and ties, and tweeds as well. It works so well that I wear it 99% of the time. I often have to force myself to wear another belt. Even other solid surcingle belts.

I recently had to replace this belt. It was starting to look rough. I re-purchased the same belt. An olive green surcingle from Leather Man LTD. I did make one change. This time I went with the feathered edge with brown stitch instead of the standard tab. I am glad that I did. It adds a little more sophistication.

The olive surcingle may not become everyone’s “signature,” but it is definitely a surcingle color to invest in. I have tried other colors including navy and tan both of which are both solid options, but navy can be challenging with a navy blazer and tan can cause monochromatic concerns. Olive has proven itself  again and again. There are lots of places to get an olive surcingle. I went with Leather Man, but also check out Barrons-Hunter, J.Press, or O’Connell’s.

All in Together Now

Earlier this week while I was wearing the look pictured here I realized that what I was wearing was the result of several blog posts. I did not have this blog post in mind when I assembled the rig. I was merely excited to break the new-to-me green tie.
FruitionThe top half of the look contains references to two blog posts. As I mentioned above, the most notable is the green tie that I very recently featured in Going Green Part 1. This was its first outing and while some my find the combination too bold I enjoyed the tie immensely. The tie and shirt combination illustrates my fondness for wearing striped shirts with striped ties which I posted about as well (see here).
Green Tie & BlazerThe third and last post brought to life in this picture is about solid surcingles. I have learned over time that solid surcingles provide the best bang for the buck for me. While striped surcingles may be more fun I don’t wear them very often. On the other hand I will wear a solid surcingle everyday of the week (Solid Surcingle Post). In the that post I mentioned that my next purchase would be a natural colored surcingle. I purchased a natural one from Leatherman belts, but quickly learned that it was khaki that I was after. You can see my new khaki surcingle below.
Khaki SurcingleI like several things about this look. It is simple, but still interesting. It is formal enough for today’s dress codes, but still very casual. It embodies so many of the reasons why I am drawn to traditional American style.

Going Green Part 1

When it comes to green in the Trad world we usually think Olive. This could be olive moleskin trousers, the classic cord sport coat in olive, or even outside of the olive spectrum there is iconic soft green OCBD sported by Miles. This post is not about any of the green items above, but about green ties.

Miles Knows about green.

My first green tie was the same as many of my readers and by far the most popular green tie, the Argyll & Sutherland repp. My next green tie was a more solemn repp that has served me well in both ultra conservative settings and on cool overcast days, but still has a nice pop of color (1st picture below). Next, I picked up this bright green repp that has become one of my very favorites (2nd picture below). These three ties got me hooked on green.
tumblr_ntnu6cfFy11ttpazyo1_1280Bright Green TieThis week Ask Andian Dr. D put up a whole lot of ties for sale and there were a fair number of green ones. The most exciting of these to me was the American version of the Malaya Regiment tie that I have been fawning over at Ben Silver for at least a year (1st tie below), but I could not stop there. As you can see by the ties that I selected (All featured below) there is a type of stripe that I love. I would describe this type of ties as bold yet conservative.
Malaya Regiment tieGreen RegimentalGreen Red Blue RegimentGreen Yellow Red Repp TieThe color green provides a great back drop for stripes (and foulards, but that’s  a whole other another post). Colors such as red, yellow, and purple stand out when set against it. If you don’t have a green tie in your collection I suggest that you add one. I suspect that it won’t be the last. I will share more on going green next week when I will reveal a few of my more predictable green purchases.

A quick side note. I paid under $20 for my Dr.D ties shown above. If you have never visited the Ask Andy Trad forum I will tell you that the Trad Exchange is a true gem. It alone is worth being a member.

Striped Shirt & Striped Tie

I often hear (or read) that you should not wear striped ties with striped shirts. I don’t know the origin of this “rule.” It may not even be a rule at all, but a tip to keep sartorial novices such as myself to stay away from pattern matching. What I do know is that wearing striped ties with striped shirts is one of my favorite things.
TodayPulling off a striped tie with a striped shirt relies on the same principle as any pattern on pattern matching. It is all about scale. It is also not complicated, at least in theory. The two patterns simply have to have enough difference in their scale to work. In general, it tends to work best when the shirt pattern is smaller than the tie’s pattern, but I am sure that there are exceptions to this.

Stripe tie & shirtClose up
Traditionally I wear a blue university striped OCBD with a striped tie. Like I said, it is one of my favorite looks. However, using different kinds of striped shirts opens up endless possibilities. I am slowly working on adding a new stripe type or color to my closet (Common types of shirt stripes). I recently purchased a pinpoint shirt with red stripes from Brooks Brothers primarily to wear with one tie in particular (see the combo here!), but I know that I will find many more to wear with it through experimentation.
Stripes on Stripess
Green Rep tie & Uni StripeI like rules. They provide structure and guidance. Rules can help you to avoid things that should be avoided without you having to fully understand why. On the flip side, once you better understand the reason for the rule you may be able to apply it as necessary instead of blindly following it. For those of you who don’t do stripes on stripes I hope this post encourages you to give it a go.