Sunday, January 31, 2010

Old Man: Forgetting Anniversaries

So apparently yesterday was the one year anniversary of this blog. Yay I guess.

I suppose if I made it through this year I can try for another year.

We'll see.


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.


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Young Man: The Original Piece

Today I am wearing an outfit that I consider to be essentially Trad/Ivy/Classic American/whatever (I just consider it to be badass-cool).

BB blazer (3/2 sack, 3 patch pockets)
BB blue oxford
BB Argyle and Sutherlander variation tie
White silk square barely peeking out
ADG’s tie-bar
RRL regulation chinos (faded olive, cut waaaaay short [my bad, but I like the look])
Clark’s Desert Boots in navy suede

The last item’s cred is debatable as far as Trad goes, but I find them badass so if you don’t like it - tough. Go read someone else’s blog.

The blazer is really the piece that started it all for me. It was the first really trad/ivy thing I ever bought. Before this I had a darted tweed blazer, and my way into all this via pocket squares and snuff is documented elsewhere on here, but this was the first bare-bones, no-shit, ivy-to-death piece I owned. Bought off eBay in the summer just before my junior year started (I think it came the first or second day of classes). I love this blazer. It is a sack but not huge in the chest/waist, light and breathable even though it is a blend, and since it’s a blend, wrinkle resistant. It goes with almost every pair of pants I have (I tried it with my new LE charcoal gabs and I couldn’t see it, but it is apparently a classic look so I might try it sometime again).

I recently added a Southwick blazer to the stable and it looks and fits fine, but it is more volumnious, like most sacks, so I don’t wear it as much. This is the blazer for me. I’ll wear it until I physically cannot wear it anymore. Holes it the elbows? I’ll be patching it up. Shine? Who cares? I’m a teacher and most of the rest of these guys are in sneakers and polos everyday. Nobody will blink an eye at patched elbows and a shiny seat.

Here are some bonus shots.

P.S. I got a mention from the Valet magazine website. Check it out. Thanks very much to those guys. It's a pleasure and an honor.


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Old Man: Sunday Style

My LE gabs came in on Friday, so I had the first chance to try them out this morning. I love them. Slim but not crushing.

Here are some intentionally unhelpful pictures.

(they aren't as long as they appear in this picture. still a little longer than I prefer)

JPress Donegal tweed, contrast collar shirt, Pendleton tie, AE loafs, London Fog raincoat (hence the moisture on my shoes).

I thought this would make a cool picture. Not sure how it turned out.

The rest of my afternoon will be spent with coffee, rest, computer, football, and the book in the background of the last picture. Only revealing if you guess it.


Friday, January 22, 2010

Young Man: Wordle

Seeing as these first two weeks of my student teaching have been filled with little else other than grading, copying, planning, and drinking coffee, I have found various ways to entertain myself that are within the limits of the school district’s relentless blocking system.

One of those is Wordle. I first learned about the cool website last fall from another cooperating teacher. Basically what you do is paste in a bunch of text and it orients the words into a “word cloud.” The size of the words depend on the frequency of use (the more a word is used, the bigger it is). You can learn a lot about a poem/song/story by making one of these. I am definitely going to use this program in my class as a visual writing prompt. Here are some cool ones that I made yesterday.

This is made from Dylan Thomas’ poem “Do Not Go Gentle

This one is “America,” by Allen Ginsberg

Incidentally, you can also put in a blog’s url (or any website that has an RSS feed) and it will do it for you. Here is Sartorially Inclined.

(I believe it only does it on the first page or the first X-number of posts, so it will change based on when you do it).

Have fun.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Old Man: On "Trying Hard"

In all the forums and their respective What Are You Wearing? threads (just a note, FNB Talk Ivy doesn’t get a pass just because they named their thread something different), often the most vicious attack of a person’s outfit is that they are “trying too hard.” The meaning of this put down can change from place to place (what is trying too hard in AAAT might not be for SF), but basically it means that the person is thinking too much about what they put together, and the result looks contrived. It is impossible to label one specific outfit as “try hard” because one person can wear the same thing and pull it off with loads of “swagger” (mainly an SF thing). If you follow these forums (and even some of the blogs) you’ll find the phrase used often. I think it’s bullshit. Here’s why.

(CE - like most of my essay posts, this won’t be an in depth look using sound reasoning with a more suitable option at the end. I just want to rip on some stuff)

(CE - upon proofreading this, I have realized that it is somewhere around 90% sarcasm, so don’t take anything too seriously. Those things that are particularly sarcastic [and which I don’t want to be mistaken as serious] are marked with a “10” to show my sarcasm meter level)

If trying too hard is the worst thing a person can do, then it follows that not trying at all is the best thing a person can do. The goal here is to be able to put little to no thought into what you will wear, and still come out smelling like roses. The practitioner of this style of dress will look great even if they have a slightly rumpled look or things out of place. Many call this “sprezzatura,” since anything Italian is automatically stylish (10). Some hallmarks of this quality are: button-down collar buttons left undone, screwed up collars in general, one shoelace left untied, tie tucked into trousers, wrinkled shirt but pressed suit (or the other way around, or both), cuff buttons left unbuttoned, etc. etc. Basically what would be sloppy on a non-initiate looks fantastic on the well-schooled dresser (or the poster with higher than X-number of posts, which doesn’t mean the same thing regardless of how often it is taken to be). The rule is, as Cary Grant or Clark Gable or Clark Kent or some other guy whose name starts with a C said (10), you should learn all the rules of dress and then forget them.

The problem is (oh yes, there is a problem), that someone who learns the rules will not forget them. They might choose to break them (here I am, wearing an oxford woven shirt with a suit!) here and there, but they still know them (how can you know you’re breaking a rule if you’ve forgotten what the rule is?).

The other problem is (well I guess there are more problems) that all those hallmarks of sprekkenzitura don’t come naturally to those who know the rules. And all those who try to introduce those elements into their outfits know the rules (Phat Guido, anyone?). So if the rule knowing dresser consciously leaves his pants unzipped in an attempt to appear nonchalant, he is quite obviously trying. Because he thought enough about his outfit to think it would be improved by that little detail.

Here’s the main point (finally), the reason the “trying too hard” label is garbage. Because the good examples people use to prove their point (like Phat Guido on SF [who is an excellent dresser], 1966 or Moose on FNBTI, Patrick on AAAT and TC, and many others) really do think about stuff, and try. And no I can’t say for sure because they are their own people, but the details of their outfits prove to me that they do think and that they do try.

So saying someone “tries hard” like it’s an insult or a criticism is strange because all the best internet dressers (sounds like an oxymoron if I’ve ever heard it) try really hard. And they look great all the time. Imagine if someone really didn’t try hard at all. It shouldn’t be that hard to imagine since they’re all over the place. Guess what? I don’t find them particularly stylish. And I’ll bet you don’t either.

The real problem with people who get the “try hard” label is that they are often new to a style. Once they get used to it and learn more (and try more) they will gradually start looking more comfortable and better. Hell, go look at some of my old WAYWN posts on The Curriculum. Actually, don’t, they suck. I look terrible. I’m surprised they didn’t kick my ass out after my first five posts. But I feel like I do a better job now, and while I don’t consider myself particularly well dressed in comparison to some guys out there, I look and feel a lot better than I did back then (10). And all it took was a year and a half.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Old Man: Thrift Store Shopping

Wow, it's been a while since one of these posts, huh?

First trip to the thrift store in longer than I can remember, and boy did it pay off.

Gearing up for S/S with these scores.

First up is a Haspel poplin suit.

2 btn. and darted but it has nice shoulders

Then this nice Brooks Brothers Harrington wannabe

Apparently from their "Country Club" line.

Cool label (and what the hell is with me fitting into a small?)

The other stuff may have been bigger, but to me the most interesting thing was this:

Apparently GH Bass & Co makes (or made) shirts. They called this their "Weejun Oxford," right under the picture of a pair of weejuns. And it has double button breast pockets. In your face dress shirts!

Anyways, this is all I can muster after being sick all day. I feel like going to bed right now...


Monday, January 18, 2010

Old Man: Tie Dimple

No update yesterday because I'm sick again. Incidentally I'm also a little sick of only posting pictures of me.

So here's a (probably) long, (inevitably) boring essay on one of the smallest, least consequential parts of an outfit: the tie dimple.

Since the time when my dad first showed me how to tie a tie (fourth grade I think, for a choir concert), I have been irreversibly prejudiced to the four in hand tie knot. It's a good thing too, since that's the knot used so often in the trad/ivy style of dress.

The thing about four in hand knots is that they almost always look better with a dimple. This is of course up for debate, and there are plenty of people who can pull off an undimpled tie like they can breathe, but for me it's gotta be dimpled. So much so that by now I unconsciously check the knot throughout the day to make sure it still has that nice dimple going. An interesting side note is that this incessant checking is completely opposite to the nonchalance that many of us strive for in our dress (I won't say spretzzastasd;akshg, I won't!). In fact, the thing I like about the four in hand knot is the asymmetrical angle it has (a little messed up). So I'm not too sure why I must have a dimple in my tie (I know the arguments about how it makes the tie stand up and blah blah blah but in reality I don't care too much about that). But I do, and that’s why you’ll almost never find me without a dimpled tie in any of my endless and awful pictures.

(By the way, I just placed an order at Lands End for a pair of charcoal gabardine pants. We’ll see how that helps the ‘ol pant situation.)


Friday, January 15, 2010

Young Man: Casual Friday

You know how I do.

Jordan's tweed
ADG's collar-pin-as-tie-clip
RRL straights
RRL hankie-as-PS
Florsheim longwings

(sorry to Giuseppe for all the acronyms)
(sorry to everyone for starting the post out with "you know how I do")

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Young Man: Weakness

It is 12:30 on Thursday afternoon. I am sitting in the front left corner of the classroom, while the ninth grade students struggle to locate the object of Montague’s quote. I have spent the last five hours grading: hunched over a desk so long that my back has started to hurt. I still have an hour of grading to go.

This is my fourth day of student teaching. My fourth day of going to sleep at 8:30 pm and waking up at 5:30 am. My fourth day of driving ten minutes to meet my carpool to drive thirty minutes to get to my school.

My fourth day in a row of wearing a coat and tie. And that’s really the purpose of this post. Because when you have to put together five coat and tie outfits in a row, every week, you really get to know what the weaknesses of your wardrobe are.

For instance, I have enough heavier jackets to last until I retire. My tie and pocket square arsenal is likewise pretty set (though that certainly won’t stop me from getting more of both). I could use another pair of pennies, but my longwings and DB’s are filling the role nicely. I could use a few more plain shirts (white and blue), but I have enough for now (I will especially when my washer gets fixed).

No, my real weakness is pants. I have three or four pairs of chinos (khaki and olive), but that gets boring. I can’t wear jeans except on Fridays with a PHS t-shirt (no way in hell, by the way). And I don’t really want to wear a suit but once or twice a month.

That’s probably the big problem. I have something like 6 suits that I’ll only wear on Sundays. I should have saved some of that tip money to invest in a nice pair of wool or moleskin pants.

I guess a sartorial change every once in a while is good, if only that you can see what you need to work on, your weaknesses.

ed. note - For some reason I was in an introspective mood when I wrote this. I may have wanted to prove to myself that some American students can write.


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Young Man: Music

Here is what I've been listening to lately.

Bill Callahan (and his group Smog)

(this "Tiny Desk" series of videos is awesome, by the way. I've watched stuff from The Avett Brothers and The Tallest Man on Earth which I love)

Palace Music (one of Will Oldham's groups from the mid 90's)

and, thanks to my Dad (Trip actually named this album one of his top 5 of the decade) Gillian Welch


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Old Man: Sunday Style

Cold again this morning on the way to church. I was planning on wearing a suit but then remembered we were in the nursery again (and I worked until two last night) so I kept it simple.

Blurry, art concept.

Clearer detail shot.

Cred shot.

There was a conversation on twitter last night that I was catching up on about cameras for blogging. LAS of Sartorially Inclined is looking for something good but not too expensive. A lot of guys were recommending DSLRs and all other kinds of cameras I have absolutely no experience with or knowledge about. Also lately, David of The Natural Aristocrat is trying out some new stuff to spice his pictures up. I know my photography isn't the greatest on the interwebs, but I feel like I do alright, especially since I use an old point and shoot from my father in law's pawn shop. But I think anyone that does this for a hobby (ie not for money) could be fine with a simple point and shoot. The important things to remember with that are: take pictures outside, in natural light, and since you'll be doing that, don't use the flash. You'll be golden.

(First day of student teaching tomorrow. Wish me luck)


Sunday, January 3, 2010

Young Man: Catch-Up Post

I think this has been the longest period between posts (well, I guess between my last post and the one before it). It was weird not posting anything for that long, especially thinking continually that stuff would be cool to post. But I am happy to say that I only once or twice posted on forums while on vacation.

Anyways, on to the content. I don't enough time for the whole schpeal so let me sum-up.

I read a lot, bought a lot of books (I received a total of $100 in Barnes and Noble gift cards), got some cool clothes (a nice black LE chambray, an LL Bean flannel, a set of three monogrammed white handkerchiefs, a few ties I probably won't wear anytime soon, and some Bean gift cards that I traded in for a Buck knife), hung out with family a lot (I got to spend some quality time with my 2 year old nephew), got complimented a ton on my mustache, got laughed at a ton for my mustache, and generally overdressed for the Florida heat.

I don't really have any pictures of clothes from Florida, which I see as a good thing, but sorry if you feel otherwise.

The other real big thing that happened over my break was that my wife and I got tattoos. We've wanted some for quite some time, but only psyched ourselves up to get some in the past month. Last night we visited the only parlor in Clemson, Cherry Bomb Tattoo. If you are ever here and want to get tattooed, go to him, he is awesome. I've definitely got the bug now, and have five or six ideas for later. All able to be covered up if needed, by the way.

Mine on the left, my wife's on the right. Mine is right forearm and hers is left wrist.

Chi Rho, Solus Christus, Soli Deo Gloria

In-context shot (tattoos and hippie bracelets? Oh man!)

This morning when I took the dogs out before Church it was 25 degrees. Time to break out the wool scarf and gloves. And coffee.

Detail shot. Free jacket (from Jordan at the Curriculum), BB shirt, Rooster tie, Hanauer square, LE khakis, AE Hanovers, Dunderdon scarf.

So I guess I'm back. Oh ya, and I'm going to put the word verification up for posts, since apparently I've become too popular to evade spam comments nowadays. Too bad, really.