All posts in Men’s Clothing Reviews

Patchwork Madras Shorts

Patchwork Madras Shorts

I love madras. There’s nothing like a nice light madras in the summer. I own quite a few madras shirts, but when it comes to madras shorts I don’t own a single pair. It’s time to change that.

I definitely have a type when it comes to madras. I tend to avoid brightly colored madras preferring more muted tones. I have used the term muddy madras to describe my type before. I couldn’t remember where I got that term, but it came to me the other day. It turns out that I was standing on the shoulders of giants. The term originated from the trad legend Heavy Tweed Jacket (HTJ).

When it comes to shorts (or pants for that matter) I have a different madras preference. That preference is patchwork. I don’t quite know why, but I find patchwork madras shorts a lot easier to wear than a single madras pattern. I am not saying a single pattern can’t be pulled off well, but it has a much greater chance of looking dated in my opinion.

I recently scored a backup pair of my favorite Ralph Lauren chino shorts on Ebay for pennies on the dollar. I am not a huge fan of clothes shopping on Ebay in general, but riding high off my recent shorts purchase I went looking on Ebay for a pair of patchwork madras shorts. There were lots to choose from. I probably viewed 20-30 pair before I settled on a pair. In the end I didn’t go with Ralph, Brooks, or even Castaway clothing, but Old Navy. Yes, you heard that right, Old Navy.

Old Navy Patchwork Madras Shorts
Old Navy Patchwork Madras Shorts

When picking out a patchwork I have one tip. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. This is especially true for patchwork madras. Don’t get caught up evaluating if you like each individual panel. Instead, take a step back or zoom out if your shopping online and look at it as one pattern. Whether you like how it looks from this perspective is far more important than each panel since this is how it will be seen both by others and by you in your full length mirror.

In the end it all worked out well. My shorts came in from Ebay and they were great. They were long. Probably close to 12 inches, but I knew that when I bought them. That’s an easy fix. I paid $15 for the shorts and $10 more to have them hemmed. I dropped them off at the dry cleaner down the street and a few days later I field tested them on the golf course. All in all not bad for $25!

Things That I Would Buy at Brooks Brothers RN

Last week I bad mouthed Brooks Brothers offerings here in the USA. This week I am going to switch it up. While I wish they brought some of what they are doing in Japan over here there are still a few things that I would buy over at the Brethren. Especially when they are on sale.

It feels like there is one thing that Brooks Brothers is still doing well. That thing is sport shirts. While not the most exciting and for those of us that generally transition worn-out work shirts to sport shits they may be a bit self defeating, but they do have their place. That place for me is the weekend, but could also include weeknight activities, casual Friday’s, and and any other time that you want to look nice, but not like you came from or are going to the office.

Below are my top sport shirt picks from Brooks Brothers sales section. There are a lot of nice tradly fabrics such as pinwale cord, broadcloth, poplin, Portuguese flannel, and no stretch or non-iron in sight. I picked the colors and patterns that I liked even if I can’t pull them all off like the foulard print which is gorgeous. There is more where this came from on the site including a lot of fun shirts, madras, and linen. Plus different colors and patterns of my picks below. While Brooks may not always give us what we want they still have a few gems here and there. As the saying goes, don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.

The Proper Cloth Shirt Fit Post

Proper Cloth Shirts 2023

If you want to give Proper Cloth a try follow the link (Proper Cloth) for 10% off your first purchase.

I’ve always wanted to try out one of the online custom shirt makers. However the process seemed cumbersome and the potential for making expensive mistakes kept me away. It felt easier to simply buy OTR (off the rack) clothing and return what doesn’t work. Fast forward to Proper Cloth reaching out to see if I’d like to try out their shirts.

Back to my fit fears. My biggest fear isn’t making a shirt that doesn’t fit well. My biggest fear is making a shirt that doesn’t fit well and then having to paying for it. My contact over at Proper Cloth pointed out their perfect fit guarantee which is, “If your first shirt isn’t perfect, we’ll remake it—free of charge.”. This guarantee definitely eased my mind a bit.

For sizing I started by using their smart sizes algorithm. I really just wanted to test it out. It was much more accurate than I had expected. They have lots of other ways to measure for shirts including measure a shirt of your own, measure your body, and send us a shirt of yours to measure. I tweaked my smart fit using the measurements of a Michael Spencer OCBD that fits me well. I know how to measure a shirt, but I watched their video tutorials on measuring to make sure I was doing it their way. The videos were short and easy to follow. I was done in under 15 minutes.

My first shirt, true to my moniker was a Light Blue American Pima OCBD. Despite being very close in measurements to the Michael Spencer shirt the fit was a little off. It was tight in the back, shoulder, and arm area. I sent my fit advisor a some pics and he made a couple recommendations. He suggested moving the chest posture back 1″ (this is a standard option in the fit dimensions) and changing the shoulder fit to sloped shoulders due to my physique. He made a few other suggestions, but I was a little concerned that his other ideas would lead to a slimmer shirt than I wanted. I want a fit that is in-between baggy and slim. I’d rather have a shirt that is a little too big instead of a little too small. In addition to the two suggested changes (chest & shoulder) that I detailed above which I will say would have never occurred to me to make I added a quarter inch here and there where it seemed the shirt may have shrunk after washing. I crossed my fingers and sent it off.

When I received the second OCBD the fit was spot on. Now for the details on the shirt. Obviously I went with the soft ivy button down collar. It’s a 3.5″ collar, has a soft interlining, and makes a good roll imho. I chose the soft one button cuff which has the same soft interlining as the collar. I lowered the the top button a 1/2″ to get the 7-button spacing that I was after. I finished it off with a box pleat and locker loop. The result was a classically trad OCBD.

All together I made three shirts. I picked the Light Blue American Pima OCBD, a Burgundy American Pima OCBD, and the Stanton 120s Navy Bengal Stripe Broadcloth shirt. You can see all three below. I will follow up later with a more in-depth review of each shirt. Overall I was very pleased with my experience. My only disappointment is that they don’t have single flap pocket option. I am happy to have my size nailed down. I will be making another shirt at some point for sure. If you want to give Proper Cloth a go follow the link (Proper Cloth) for 10% off your first purchase.

Proper Cloth OCBD
Proper Cloth Light Blue OCBD
Proper Cloth Burgundy OCBD
Red OCBD with Shorts
Proper Cloth Bengal Stripe Shirt
Bengal Stripe with Tie

The Best Polo Shirt in 2023

I’d like to tell you that this post is a deep dive into all the potential polo shirts that can be had in 2023, but it’s not. I should probably change the title to, my go to polo shirt in 2023. A even more accurate title might be, my go to polo shirt. Don’t be too disheartened they are great shirts. Now let me tell you a little about them.

What I look for in a polo shirt is pretty straight forward. It needs to be all cotton. It should have more than 1 button, but less than 3. That means 2 buttons is the right number (and don’t button them both). It should also be available in the standard colors, available in general, and not cost an arm and a leg. It sounds simple, but that’s a tall order in 2023.

The Lands’ End mesh polo shirt meets all the criteria above (see here). First and foremost, it’s all cotton which alone is amazing in this day and age. The mesh cotton weave may not be as breathable as tech fabric, but I find it far more comfortable and far better looking. It has the perfect number of buttons which we have established is 2. It comes in all the right colors including the triad of trad (Shout-out to RWK!) which is navy, forest green, & burgundy. Perhaps best of all is that it is available season after season at a reasonable price of $26.95 plus LE always sales.

I’ve been wearing these polos for at least the past 7 years. You can dress them up or treat them like t-shirts. I do both. They work either way. My favorite color is the forest green, followed by white, and then the not as trad purple. The purple feels very Ralph Lauren-ish, in a good way. I find the navy to be too close to black for my taste. I like the burgundy but only in long sleeve format. With that being said, don’t sleep on the long sleeve version of these polos either as they are perfect for cooler weather (see here). It’s nice to see that there are still some affordable options for the basics that don’t require a lot of compromise. My suggestion is to get them while the getting’s good.

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