Thursday, January 28, 2010

Young Man: Inseams

I considered putting this post on the back burner, considering the somewhat heated (two-pronged) debate going on in the comment section of my last post. One debate concerns the reason for my blog, while the other concerns the sizing of clothes. Here’s a quick response to the two debates (otherwise I’ll never respond because of the stuff I have to do).

Firstly, to Anon the second. I know my blog is a glorified WAYW thread. I wish it wasn’t. I’d like to do more stuff, which is why I occasionally do the essay posts and try to get interesting guest posts. Like Anon the third said, I don’t feel comfortable telling people what they should wear outright. Dressing is a very personal thing, and I don’t have anywhere near the knowledge and training (or time) to give out personal advice to each reader.

However, what I do is actually a subtle way of showing people what I feel like is the best style of dress, since it is how I like to dress. So take it or leave it.

Secondly, to address the fit issue. There is an opposition of styles here, between what is often called “Trad,” and what is often called “Ivy.” These terms are gross oversimplifications of the real issues, and I will simplify them even more, but they are useful terms in a situation like this.

Trad usually refers to the period of the 40’s and 50’s, where clothes were cut full (hence the rise of the sack jacket). Ivy can (and will here) refer to the period of the 60’s, where lines slimmed down and sharpened. Hence the “continental” sack suit, often with twin vents, slim trousers, and close cut sacks.

I feel like OCBD and TradMan are coming from the Trad side, while Dale is coming from the Ivy side, which is not surprising since that aesthetic is popular now.

So what we have is an aesthetic debate, which will not be resolved, since taste is subjective and personal. However, there are some things that can be resolved.

For one, OCBD and TradMan’s assertion that slim always equals constricting and uncomfortable is false, as are most absolutes. Slim can be uncomfortable for some people (based on body type and sizing issues), but for most people it can be comfortable. I also feel like you might be equating slim with skinny, when in reality they are completely different.

Secondly, I really am at a loss for how anyone can think that my clothes are constricting. I wear sack jackets for crying out loud. Provided the person can physically put the jacket on and button it, I can’t understand how a sack jacket could be taken as constricting.

Photo Credit: Ivy-Style

Now on to the actual post, inseams (which is liable to spark another debate in the same vein of the fit one).

Since I first fell into this mess of clothes, I’ve had an affinity for the no-break style of inseam (or what Alan Flusser calls, the “Mid-Atlantic Solution”). I can’t really justify it on any grounds except aesthetic grounds. I like how it looks. My wife says it looks like I grew out of my hand-me-down pants. I like how clean it looks, with no puddling (even a slight break looks messy to me on my feet). Other people can make the break look good, Patrick for example. I just can’t stand how it looks on me. I think the reason I am so opposed to it on myself is that before my eyes were opened, I wore a bunch of pants that puddled horribly. So I went to the other extreme.

Most of my pants aren’t up to Miyuki-zoku level, but one pair is. The olive green RRL chinos I posted a few days ago are almost up there. I used to steer away from them because of how high they were, put this picture gave me an idea as to how to make them seem acceptable. If you’ll notice the gent on the front left of the picture, he has high-top sneakers paired with super high khakis. I don’t have a pair of chucks, and probably wouldn’t wear them with these pants anyways, but I do have a pair of DB’s, which are cut higher than normal shoes. This little detail balances out the severe height of the pants. The same idea applies to my Chippewa boots, which were the only pair of shoes I would wear with these before. Now that I have the Clarks, I feel comfortable wearing them again.

I realize that highwater pants aren’t the most popular trend in Trad circles, and I’ll probably get a few comments telling me to buy big-boy pants. I really don’t care. There.

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