Sunday, December 22, 2013

Return of the tartan

A long while ago, I ran across a rather insane tartan sport coat at the thrift store. I simply couldn't resist it, and stashed it away amongst some other clothes, only to forget it about it last fall in the midst of trying to pack up all our belongings prior to a house purchase (which subsequently fell through).

This summer, though, I took a couple pieces to my tailor and re-discovered the tartan jacket, so I took it in as well and had the requisite work done. It again got stashed for the proper time, which happened to arrive this week.

tartan jacket full

Work holiday parties are as good of a time as any to kick out the jams, and while this particular piece got me some snarky remarks, I felt like it also worked pretty well (and I received some compliments as well).

tartan jacket detail

Of course, the trick with a jacket like this is to not go too crazy and look like a clown (although some would argue it's bad enough by itself). It's loud enough that there's really nothing more needed, so I tried to limit my color palette to ones already in the jacket. A simple white OCBD and navy wool trousers were the base, then I tried to pop the gold with a vintage gold grenadine and a black and gold pocket square. A black belt and captoe oxfords rounded it out (I'm wearing house slippers in the pictures because it's been mucky around here).

As I mentioned in the original post, it's likely not something I'll wear more than a couple times a year, but that's part of the joy of thrifting, knowing I only have $25 dollars invested in it, and it will easily provide me with many, many times that amount in terms of sheer enjoyment.

Happy Holidays to you and yours. I hope that 2013 treated you well and 2014 is even better.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Style Share: December 2013

It's been awhile since I've done a Style Share, I admit. With the holidays right around the corner, I figure there isn't a better time to fire one up. If you haven't heard of this thing before, the gist is that I give away items of clothing and the only thing I ask is that the recipient of said free* item email me back a photo or two of them wearing it for a follow-up post on this site (I'll give you credit for the photo and even link your blog if you have one).

This month, I've got five different ties from five different makers, all in fairly distinct styles (some of them more suitable for winter than others). I'm sending out the first three items claimed, so let's do this!

Bass black watch plaid

Vintage Bass tie in a nice black watch plaid. 100% cotton and great for holiday parties or anything else.

Brooks Brothers burgundy

Brooks Brothers burgundy / orange / blue striped tie. Winter with a wink towards spring.

vintage Jos A Bank regimental

Vintage Jos A. Bank regimental. JAB gets a back knock, but their vintage ties hold up against the venerable Brooks Brothers any day.

Lands End Charter collection

Lands' End Charter Collection in wool and silk. Really, really lovely and I'm close to keeping this one.

Liberty of London Repp

Liberty of London repp stripe with a slightly unique color combination.

As usual, claim your item in the comments, then email me through the address listed on the site. It's pretty darn easy and I'll get back to you fairly quickly.

Perhaps it goes without saying, but if you see something you like that doesn't get claimed and you want to trade/purchase it, just email me. I've actually traded for a few items in the past and frankly it's nearly just as fun for me.

*Seriously, it's free, and yours to keep forever. No strings attached. I won't share your name on the site or with anyone else unless you have a blog of your own that you want me to link. Please note that all clothing will be used (but certainly not stained, smelly, or damaged, as I do have standards), so please only agree to participate if this sort of thing doesn't gross you out. Thanks!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Something for now and something for later.

If your wardrobe is comprised largely of clothes that were bought at thrift or discount prices, you know that one of the best rules is to get while the getting is good. Finding something that fits well that isn't in season is no reason to not buy it if you're paying only a small pittance of what you'd normally pay, and by doing so you're often rewarded with some of your best finds during the time of the year when you can't even wear what you just purchased.

While ties are certainly a bit more season-agnostic than a lot of other articles of clothing, like other accessories such as shoes and belts, there's certainly a time and place for everything that works just a bit better. My personal luck has been quite good lately in both regards, as I've found some stunning ties that will add to my winter wardrobe, as well as several that I can pack away and surprise myself with again in six months.

winter ties

First up is a batch of really varied, and lovely ties that should work well all through the cold months. The far left tie is a cashmere paisley piece by Etro (who are usually a bit garish for my taste), while the middle is a vintage Robert Talbott wool plaid. The far right is a first for me, a really old Bert Pulitzer limited collection made from imported ancient madder. It's really beautiful and I finally see the appeal of ancient madder ties.

summer ties

Possibly topping the cold-weather haul is another varied batch of ties for the summer months. On the left is a mega-vintage PRL seersucker tie, while the 2nd and 3rd are both older Lands' End (I'm still not decided on the flower print, but for some reason I find it engaging for now). The beige/pink/navy stripe tie is another vintage number, and despite looking and feeling like cotton, it's actually a paper-thin wool piece. Very odd, but will probably work best in the spring. On the right is yet another shiny bubblegum number in pink and baby blue from Lands' End.

Now, if I could just thrift a couple more summer-weight sport coats that fit my ape arms, I would really be in business.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

I Ralph, you Ralph, we all Ralph for Ralph

This year has been a doozy, but I'm not gone yet. The past few months found me struggling, then largely succeeding at one of my largest work projects ever while trying to still fit in family time and other important things. This blog found itself lower in the pecking order, and so it fell by the wayside.

Now that fall is here and things have normalized a bit, I plan on firing it back up again. I've had some quality finds lately, and I'm feeling a bit more motivated to write a little bit here and there.

Polo Ralph Lauren mugs

Although it certainly isn't my most exciting score as of late, one of the more fun things I've come across lately is this package of boxed-up Polo Ralph Lauren equestrian mugs from the mid 80s. Made of super-heavy ceramic, they're a little too small for my robust coffee-drinking needs, but for a couple bucks I certainly wasn't going to leave them on the shelf.

Mug on table

Although I've certainly tried to be more picky when buying things at thrift stores over the years, I still have my weak moments where I buy something without really having a home for it. These still might end up in our cabinet at some point in the future, or maybe someone will end up with a retro white elephant holiday gift in their future. There's some fun in that as well.

New Style Share coming within the next week or so. Stay tuned.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Style Share return: Brooks Brothers foulard tie

Seems like every time I post lately, I make an excuse as to why I haven't been posting more often. I will try to start making less excuses and more posts in the future. If you know the routine, you know that as part of my ongoing Style Share project, I offered up a pile of ties back in March, and most of them were claimed.

Brooks Brothers foulard

One of several Brooks Brothers ties that were handed out, this nice foulard print seemed like it could go either serious or not. It was claimed by repeat-contributor Prinz Ulrich von Boffke

Brooks Brothers detail

Brooks Brothers extra

Photos courtesy of Prinz Ulrich von Boffke

As usual, I'll let him give the breakdown on the rest of the details.

I am also wearing a recently thrifted and altered vintage Corbin (US-made with union labels) summer weight wool and silk suit in glen plaid and a pair of thrifted Allen Edmonds shoes that were then reconditioned at the AE factory in Wisconsin.

As usual, PUvB manages to look great on a budget. The bonus action shot made me chuckle even more, as I know I've had a couple random nights where I've forgotten to remove either a jacket / tie/ shoes / some combination of the aforementioned before I got down to weeding the yard or dumping the compost. Cheers, and thanks again for participating to PUvB.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Fashion unforward

While I haven't made too many posts outside of men's clothing on this blog (and frankly, haven't made a lot of posts in general lately), I do have several other interests that keep me busy outside my main orbit of family and work. Although I've hinted at it in places, I'm a huge, huge, huge devotee of music and film, and have been a dilettante of many different sports, with the latest being running.

Around the beginning of the year, I decided that it would be a good challenge (and goal) to run an official half-marathon. Despite living in the midwest, I managed to train outside all winter, and the very longest stretch I went without running was four days (when we got socked with snow). Fortunately, I live close to a route that is regularly cleared, all the ice, snow, and sleet (and more recently, rain) that mother nature threw at me only seemed to embolden my spirit.

deal with it

The aforementioned photo was taken at roughly 3/4 of the way through the half-marathon, on one of the last major inclines. It was taken a little bit prior to me hitting the proverbial "wall," hence the awkward smile. The day was unseasonably cold, and with a start time just after sunrise, my choice of clothing was almost purely synthetics.

Prior to running, I challenged myself by setting a goal time and donation amount to One Fund Boston, noting that I would double my amount given if I managed to beat it. In the end, I managed to do so by almost five minutes, and saw a load of friends and my wife and daughter cheering for me as I neared the finish. Not the worst way to spend a weekend morning, especially when it involves a delicious post-race meal and relaxing day afterward.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Style Share Return: Brooks Brothers flower tie

It goes without saying that I've been kinda busy lately. The toddler in our household turned 2 years old and I ran a half-marathon and things have generally been more than a little on the frantic side. I will make no promises on regularity of future posts, but I will thank those who have sent back photos for Style Share, one of which is featured in this post.

Way back in March, I offered up what I felt were some pretty nice ties and even a hat.

Brooks Brothers flowers

This Brooks Brothers tie with a flower motif was claimed by a reader who prefers to remain anonymous.

Brooks Brothers flower tie

He sent along three photos, with details on the pieces that rounded out his ensemble.

Brooks Brothers flower tie

Brooks Brothers flower tie

As usual, I'll let him tell it.

Because the Kentucky Derby was this weekend, I wore this Friday for work to amuse myself. The tie is paired with a micro-houndstooth Brooks Brothers O.C.B.D (alas, not made in the USA; this is still one of my thrifting white whales). On top is an Orvis gingham sport coat (goes for $198 on its website; I got it for $13).
Down below is a pair of Brooks Brothers plain-front seersucker pants (goes for $98 on its website; I got it for $6) held up by a belt by Narragansett Leathers. To finish, I'm wearing vintage made in the USA Dexter saddle shoes. Everything (but the belt) was thrifted from various Goodwill stores.

I'm a huge fan of the look, in addition to the bargain hunting. Seeing his neat gingham sport coat reminds me I still need something like that to round out my warm weather wear.

As usual, thanks to anonymous for contributing.