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Let’s Take it Back to the Old School

This week I thought I’d throw it back to old school days of trad online. I am talking about the peak of the online menswear community. I am taking it back to the forums (shoutout to Ask Andy Trad!), the blogs (big ups to HeavyTweedJacket!), all the tumblrs, and the early days of IG with this post. With that being said here is some good ole’ collar, cuff, and unadulterated sweater porn. Enjoy!

Light Green Shetland
Shetland Sweater in Salmon

Sports Coat Capsule

J.Press Summer Tweed

I like to think that I have a relatively minimalistic approach to clothing at least for someone that is in to clothing. For example, it’s a blue OCBD and khaki chinos almost every day. I like my uniform approach. It’s easy, comforting, I like the way it looks, and I like the effect that it has on others. I want to do the same with sport coats that I do with my shirts and pants. So I came up with my ideal sport coat capsule.

You can see my capsule below. I think with these jackets I will have a just enough variety that I won’t look exactly the same every day, but at the same time getting dressed won’t be overwhelming. My list is a little cold weather heavy, but that’s when I wear sport coats the most. I do have a lighter tweed for warmer weather. I am also happy to simply wear a blue blazer in the warmer months. I have even considered keeping my capsule to only navy blazers. That might be too minimalistic even for me.

Where am I at now? I currently have six sport coats in the rotation. I have made a notation for what category they fall into and added a picture below. I have a year round and summer blazer. I can check them off the list. Although the summer blazer is fading fast. My grey herringbone and brown herringbone that I currently have are place holders. My grey herringbone has stripes of olive and navy which I’d like to replace with solid grey. It along with my brown herringbone sport coat also both have lower welted pockets. The goal moving forward is to get everything in my preferred style which is a 3/2 sack cut with swelled edges, center vent, welted chest pocket, and lower patch with flap pockets.

After putting together my list I am not as far off as I had originally thought. All I need to do is stay focused. My biggest hurdle has always been my size. I am basically between a 36R and a 38S. This unfortunately this puts me into beggars can’t be choosers territory. If I see something in my size on the second hand market I used to jump at it. This approach has also led me to have jackets that I don’t necessarily care for in the past. Luckily this time around I am in no hurry at all. This isn’t a this year or even next year acquisition list, but a long term plan. Below is my list. Let me know what you think.

Sport Coat Capsule

  • Grey Herringbone – 1
  • Brown Herringbone – 1
  • Olive Herringbone – 0
  • Gun Club/ Houndstooth/ Check / Etc. – 2
  • Camel Hair – 0
  • Tan Corduroy – 0
  • Olive Corduroy – 0
  • Year Round Blazer- 1
  • Summer Blazer – 1
  • Winter Blazer – 0

Basket weave Tweed Sport Coat

Wash n Wear Blazer

The J.Press Catalog & A Corduroy Sport Coat

3/2 Tan Corduroy Sport Coat J.Press Pennant

The new J.Press catalog showed up in my mailbox last week. There’s always some good stuff in there to drool over like the new soft make Lovat sport coats, the all cotton wide wale corduroy pants that which are becoming increasingly hard to find, and the re-emergence of moleskin pants There is a whole lot more, but this post is about one image that really stood out to me.

Check out the picture above. It is so good. The tan corduroy sport coat. The checked shirt. The silk knit tie. Even the notebook adds something. It’s a classic look with Dustin Hoffman Graduate vibes, but it also looks contemporary. The corduroy sport coat straddles the line between dressed up and dressed down nicely reflecting our current sartorial climate. It might be the perfect fence sitter. Same with the knit tie. The natural pose helps make him look comfortable in these clothes. This is what makes for good looks books and for good fits in real life. One thing that surprises me about this fit is that I would have never picked a shirt with a pattern in these colors, but it sure does work here. Yes, I know there is no collar roll. The youngsters will get there. This is Pennant Label J.Press not mainline which still has that good collar roll. I am not sold on the 5-pocket cords with the different color corduroy jacket, but since they are obscured in the pic I I am going to let it ride. Hats off to whomever styled this one.

Dustin Hoffman & His Killer Cord Jacket in The Graduate

This seems like as good of a time as any to use my bully pulpit for personal gain. I have been and still am on the lookout for a similar jacket. My size is sold out at J.Press or I’d bite. It’s probably the reason why I liked the pic so much. My ideal set up is a 3/2 roll sack cut with swelled edges, a welted chest pocket, patch and flap lower pockets, and center vent in this color. This gold tan color is the best cord color imho with olive trailing just behind. It works with chinos and it works with jeans. I’d love a good deal on a vintage 3/2 roll corduroy sport coat, but if you know where a new one is send it my way as well. Here’s the rub. I am about a 37s (17-17.25″ shoulders, 20-ish” ptp, and 28-29 length from boc). Thanks for keeping me in mind!

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.