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A Ball Cap and a Blazer

Simon Crompton of Permanent Style recently did a post about baseball caps and logos (see here). I think the gist of his post was about authenticity and that ball caps can look good. He prefers a logo that means something to the wearer and doesn’t care for made up logos. I said something similar about ball caps and authenticity in 2016 (Are baseball caps trad?), but I don’t mind made up logos, no logos, or luxury caps. Why I am writing about this is that Simon’s post created a lot more controversy in a trad/ivy related sub-reddit that I follow (here) than I would have anticipated. Specifically the part about wearing a ballcap with tailoring. Some people like it, but people that don’t like it seem to really really hate it.

I will add my 2 cents on the subject. I don’t think of the ball cap and blazer look as anything new. I used to have a great floor to ceiling window in my old office which was located near a few banks, the courthouse, and some law offices. I have seen men downtown in blazers, sport coats, and suits put on a baseball hat when it’s windy, raining, or very sunny for well over a decade. Keep in mind this was in a smaller city. In Ohio. We are talking main street USA not LA, NYC, or London where Simon mentions that he has never seen the look. Maybe it’s newer that men are wearing ball caps not for weather protection, but for style or maybe it’s new that it’s featured in look books and advertising. I am not sure. I seem to recall a Muffy Aldrich or Ivy Style blog post about men in NYC wearing ball caps with blazers 7-10 years ago, but I couldn’t find it. I have a more open opinion than many it seems. I think like most things it can look good or it can look bad. It just depends.

I leave you with a few pics. The first is man that I spotted on the street about 4 years ago. He was a wearing a 3/2 roll patch pocket blazer, p3 type glasses, OCBD, foulard tie, khakis, tassels, and a tan baseball hat. I thought that he looked cool so I snapped a pic. He reminded me of the men that I described above. An old school guy throwing on a ball cap outside of his office (probably to protect his head from the sun). I highly doubt that this guy reads about menswear trends online. The other two pics are of me. I am wearing a hat in one pic because it was rainy and in the other because it was very windy. My down vest will probably cause as much pushback as the cap, but I like it. I thought that the cap looked pretty good too. Hence the pic. The hat is from a golf course that I played in case you were wondering.

For more hat related content here is a link to my post: Horrible Protestant Hats By P.J. O’ROURKE

baseball hat and blue blazer

baseball cap and tweed

The End-On-End Rabbit Hole

Brooks Brothers Contrast Collar end-on-end shirt

If my last post (End-on-End Madras by HTJ) left you wondering what exactly end-on-end madras is you are not alone. I myself was a little confused by it so I reached out to an expert to get their input (Still waiting to hear back), a reader and ivy style enthusiast gave some good input, and I re-read HTJ’s article several times looking for more clues. Now let me tell you how I went down this rabbit hole in the first place.

A light as a feather, breezy, well worn, frayed, and almost completely see through contrast collar end-on-end broadcloth shirt from Brooks Brothers is what sent down this rabbit hole (Top image). I actually think that it’s the same shirt that HTJ mentions wearing with a suit in his post (Illustration above). A contrast collar isn’t the easiest thing to wear when you aren’t dressed to the nines. Luckily this shirt is beat to death making it easier for me to style it casually. it’s a beautiful shirt. The alternating warp of blue and white yarns creates a subtle variation of color that I find very pleasing. Plus it’s the coolest wearing shirt that I own even beating out my madras shirts. In my opinion it’s the perfect fabric to wear in the summer and I wanted a new solid blue one button down version.

DJA Sea Island Light Blue End-on-End
DJA Sea Island Light Blue End-on-End
Thomas Mason Goldline Light Blue End-on-End
Thomas Mason Goldline Light Blue End-on-End
Stanton 120s Blue End-on-End
Stanton 120s Blue End-on-End

A slight detour. Prior to remembering the HTJ end-on-end madras post I was working with Proper Cloth to get a few shirts made. At this time I was simply trying to replicate my contrast collar end-on-end shirt as the madras portion had not entered the equation yet. I ordered a few swatch sample including the Stanton 120s blue end-on-end, Thomas Mason Goldline light blue end-on-end, and a DJA Sea Island light blue end-on-end. I ended up choosing the the Stanton’s for a few reasons. I was after a shirt with a similar variation in color, weight, and transparency, but a touch darker blue. The Stanton’s end-on-end had the right color and color variation, but is a little more opaque than I wanted. I think that it will get more transparent with time. It’s a great shirt and I have loved wearing it, but it doesn’t have the texture that HTJ mentions.

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

Another short detour. While I was trying to find more info on end-on-end madras I remembered a shirt that I owned over a decade ago. This was a lightweight blue shirt with some color variation and a flap pocket from Huntington Clothiers. It was a cool shirt with that flap pocket. I had always thought it was a chambray shirt, but I started to question that. I really questioned it after blog reader Irving left an insightful comment about how Ebay sellers often mistake end-on-end madras for chambray. This shirt was one of my early thrifts. I even did a post about it (see here), but sadly I let the shirt go because it was a tad big. I regret that now as I think I’d like the fit these days. Live and learn. Anyways I looked up the old blog post and upon zooming in I did not see the the end-on-end weave, but I still miss the shirt. I tried to track it down to no avail.

Venerable blue end-on-end

Thistle end-on-end

Here is where I am now. After reading the HTJ post several times this is what I surmised. I think that by end-on-end madras he meant an end-on-end weave in a cotton fabric that is not broadcloth. I say this because broadcloth has almost no texture even in an end-on-end weave or so I thought. During my search for this fabric I found a few end-on-end fabrics on Mercer and Sons’ website. When I read the description of the cloth I had an aha moment. Mercer says of their venerable blue 60s end-on-end weave, “The most basic and versatile blue broadcloth. Its uniquely textured weave and its progressive softening over time make it a true favorite.”. The uniquely textured weave and progressive softening jumped off the page. Then I saw their Thistle end-on-end which HTJ also mentions. Now I might be on to something! Priced at $240 per shirt at Mercer I need to make certain this is what I am after before I plunge that far in the deep end.

If the jumble of words above leaves you confused I will try to summarize. I have an amazing vintage end-on-end broadcloth shirt from Brooks Brothers and I want another, but in button down format without contrasting cuffs and collar. I ordered an end-on-end shirt from Proper Cloth to as the replacement which I think will work out nicely. While waiting for my Proper Cloth shirt I remembered an old post from HTJ about end-on-end madras. Then I wanted one of these shirts as it aligned with what I had been after but sounded even better. The problem was that I didn’t know exactly what this fabric is or where to find it. I thought that it was a end-on-end cotton that wasn’t broadcloth. Then I found a fabric on Mercer and Sons website that seems to fit the bill, but it is broadcloth. So broadcloth is back in the pool of consideration and most likely the answer. However, no conclusion has been reached at this time. The search continues. Stay tuned.

How to Dress for a Wedding: The Trad Edition

Invited to a wedding and you aren’t sure what to wear? Join the club. I don’t know all the ins and outs of formal dress, but I can share a few tips that will help point you in the right direction. There are a few variables that will help you figure out what to wear not only to a wedding, but anywhere. These variables are: occasion, host, venue, weather, and time of day.

I will walk you through how I applied the above to the latest wedding that I attended. Lets get started. The occasion is a wedding which gives us a general idea about what’s acceptable and what’s not. Let’s dig a little deeper. Does the wedding invite specify the dress code? If it says black tie then the problem is solved. My invite did not indicate that it is black tie. Let’s look at some other clues

Next up is host. I don’t know the couple that is getting married very well. I do know that they are younger professionals and were relatively well put together the few times that I have seen them. Not too much to work with so far. Let’s see if the answers to other questions paint a clearer picture. The venue is outdoors, it’s summer, and it’s a daytime wedding. These all point to the more casual spectrum of wedding attire. This I can work with.

Based on the answers above I have an idea of what I want to wear. I know the shirt will be white because that’s what has been drilled into my head to wear to formal events. I won’t go the spread collar route, but will keep it trad with a white OCBD. I’m nixing the suit because from the last few weddings that I have been to suits have been few and far between. Plus it’s outside in July. It will be hot. So I predict even fewer suits will be worn.

I went with a classic trad look that’s often gets ridiculed as the security guard look. White OCBD, blue blazer, grey wool pants, tie, and burgundy penny loafers. I chose a tasteful vintage YSL patterned tie even though I know that a “wedding tie” is more correct. The outfit was perfect for the occasion. I was neither the best nor the worst dressed guest which is exactly where I want to be. There were more suits than I expected which was not many, but it’s good to see them still in action. I was happy with my decision. Not one single person mistook me for a security guard or employee by the way.

The Same but Different

Time for a little compare and contrast. The above picture while being highly disorienting also features two similar but different OCBDs. On the left we have what I would call, work OCBD. On the right we have a more casual version of work OCBD. I like this photo as it illustrates how a few slight tweaks can create a different, but similar feel. I have included the details of each outfit below. Are these outfits similar to you or do you find them very different? What other differences can you spot?

On the left

  • Vintage Tweed Sport Coat
  • JCrew 1040 fit Chinos
  • JPress OCBD
  • Bass Weejuns

On the Right

  • Southwick Cambridge Tweed Sport Coat
  • JCrew 770 fit Chinos
  • Old Lands’ End OCBD
  • LL Bean Blucher Mocs

Trad Icon: Peter Kaplan

It’s been a while since I put the spotlight on an individual, but this guy deserves it. He not only knew trad like the back of his hand, but unlike a lot of people that know trad he knew how to look cool wearing it. He had a preference for tortoise shell glasses, khakis, and blue OCBDs (my kind of guy!). From the earliest pic I have seen of him (skateboard, striped tee, wallabees) until his untimely death in 2013 at the age of 59 he was cool.

If you don’t know Peter Kaplan here is a little background. At heart he was an old school journalist, but he is also known for moving journalism into the digital era. His father was the owner and president of clothing manufacturer Complex Industries Corp. This may have been where his interest in clothes began. He is a Harvard grad so there’s that too (his roommate was RFK JR. btw). He went on to become editor-in chief of the New York Observer for 15 years. This is where he hired freelance writer Candace Bushnell who wrote the column, “Sex and the City.” After that he was editorial director of Fairchild Fashion Group where he oversaw the relaunch of M magazine. If you are reading this blog you may recognize his name from his epitaph on The Trad by John Tinseth which you can read here.

From Politico
From The Trad

Peter Kaplan Trad