Monday, February 27, 2012

Yay or nay: The tartan blazer

If you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you probably know that I'm not the most adventurous fellow out there in terms of men's style. It took me a long time before I felt like I got very good at the basics, and I've basically been slowly unfurling different flourishes here and there as time goes along. It's felt like a fairly natural progression, and is still part of a longer process as I continue to branch out and try new things.

That said, sometimes a piece falls into your lap that you can't not purchase. I've already lamented the fact that I don't often find a lot of pieces in my size while thrifting (especially sport coats and shirts), but when I saw the following gem I immediately went to it. After pulling it off the rack and finding that it fit me really well (a trip to the tailor will round it completely into plae), I plopped down my $8 and purchased it, despite having my doubts that I would have the certain je ne sais quoi to ever pull it off properly.

tartan blazer

It's definitely wild, but very well made, with great pattern matching, wooden buttons, and absolutely no holes or stains (despite being 100% wool and likely from the 70s). Would you wear this thing?

I certainly will, and I'll have pictures to prove it in time (like I said, it still needs to go to the tailor).

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tweeds and pleats and unknown details

Today was one of those days that was chilly in the morning, then absolutely beautiful once the sun came out and started shining. Of course, it's still early enough in the year that late afternoon dips quickly into cooler temps, so it's best to wear something that's warm but still breathes a little (if you're going to be outside at all during working hours). I went with fairly muted tones, except for a fairly electric vintage Brooks Brothers tie that I picked up recently.

Brooks Brothers tie and more

The pocket square was one of these great vintage cotton hankies.

socks and shoes

Down below are some burgundy Weejuns and some amazing Polo Ralph Lauren pants that have one forward pleat (hey, I can abide with one or less, especially if it's not a standard pleat). I finally went and bought some over-the-calf socks and I'm loving them. I got a 3-pack of red cotton from Lands' End the last time there was a big sale, and now I'm going to have to stock up on basic colors, because they actually stay on over my chunky calves and have held their color (and held up well) after many washes.

shoulder details

I've worn this sport coat several times before (a vintage Pendleton), but I had never gotten pictures of the interesting shoulder details on it. The photo above is the back of the shoulder. To explain a little further, the detail pictured is actually a sort of accordion fold with two thin strips of fabric that open up when one extends their arm. I haven't been able to find the name of this particular stylistic detail in my sleuthing, so any help (and the functional reason it's built into the coat) would be appreciated. I'm sure one of my readers (and yeah, I'm again looking at you, Yankee Whisky Papa) knows.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Style Share February

If you're new to the site, please read some older entries in this series, but if you're a regular you know the routine. This is the part of the show where I offer up some 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). As with the past couple entries, there are a couple hold-overs and a few fresh items. First two items claimed will be sent out.

Lands End tie

Super solid staple Lands' End tie in silver/brown, navy and red.

red italy dot

Not sure of the maker on this, but it's a very pretty red silk tie with black dots. Made in Italy, it has sharp colors and a light drape.

Brooks Brothers purple black stripe

Really lovely Brooks Brothers repp stripe in white, black, and purple(!) Everyone needs more purple, right?

Altea woven

Altea woven silk tie in absolutely gorgeous colors. Might work better in spring, but this will give you a jump start.

As usual, claim your item in the comments, then email me through the address listed on the site. Yes, it's that simple.

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 that works for me too.

*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, February 13, 2012

Style Share return: Strelli tie (and more)

In the time that I've been doing Style Share, I've met a lot of really nice people, had some excellent photos returned, and even been given some accessories in return. This latest return, though, pretty much takes the cake, and I think it's going to be hard to top.

Tie Rack

This nice little art deco style tie was claimed by Andy back in November after things were officially "over", and he offered to flat-out trade me a tie of his own for it. I was totally down with that, and I got a really, really excellent new (to me) tie out of the deal. Some time passed, and then I got an email with this photo and the statement, "At work today I completed my Style Share Return Requirements. Due to the unusal nature of my compliance, my information/responsibilities are coming to you via the US Postal Service." I certainly didn't expect anything else in return, so his cryptic reply made me wonder what else what yet to arrive.

Just what the heck did he mean? Keep reading.

Strelli tie rack tie

photo courtesy Mr. F

Here's a photo of the tie in action, with an OCBD and a nice wool jacket from Lands' End Canvas (and tan trousers and oxblood Redwing boots, not pictured).

The extended part of the return arrived a couple days later, and only after I read his hand-written note and saw a stack of papers did I know what I was getting into. You see, Mr. F is a teacher, and according to his own word, "abused his power" in order to teach his class about writing haiku's (with the subject being the tie and the trade in general). Without further ado, here are some of my favorites.

Worn with much comport
Strelli flower motif tie
fashion of dead man
flawless handmade tie
impeccable style seen
envy of all men
I'm wearing my tie
with oxford cloth button down
thanks, internet friend!
dressing like a boss
he sports his new Strelli tie
best dressed at the school
horrific bad tie
from creepy midwestern guy
what a weird tie guy
Strelli flower tie
looks good with oxford cloth shirt
stolen from a corpse
this is kind of weird
why would we ever do this?
I want to go home

There were many others, but I think that's a pretty good one to end with. The funniest part is the running theme that a lot of students thought the tie came from a dead person (which, I guess could technically be true). Still, they were obvious good sports, and from the many haiku's mentioning his own solid personal style, I get the impression that Mr. F is setting a good example for our youth.

Many, many thanks to Mr. F for going above and beyond on this one. It's going to be hard to top.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

For the birds (pocket square edition)

While I don't run across a lot of newer, designer clothing items during my thrift adventures in the midwest, it seems like I run across more than my fair share of ties with bird motifs. While I haven't hunted in many years, I always grab these items when I see them, and I've taken my pick of the litter, given some to friends, and given some away.

duck pocket square

I recently ran across this great pocket square with a duck motif, and of course I had to buy it as well. It's a really nice silk piece with hand-rolled edges and the works. I must admit to not being a very big bird person, and my first thought upon seeing it was, "mallard." After looking at image searches, the red band on the neck is throwing me off, though.

duck pocket square in action

Like a lot of pocket squares, the detail of the print can't really be fully appreciated when in action, but a co-worker of mine showed enough intrigue about it that I happily brought it out of the pocket and showed him the full design. Isn't that sort of what you're hoping for every time you wear a pocket square with something more than a basic pattern?

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Style Share return: Pendleton newsboy hat

Another return from January, and not only that, but a first on the site.

Pendleton hat

You see, this time out this excellent vintage Pendleton newsboy hat was claimed by A.

Pendleton hat return

photo courtesy A

I know even less about women's style than I do about men's (which isn't a great deal), so I can't really offer much, but I have to say that pretty much any woman who can pull off wearing some men's clothing is pretty darn excellent in my book. And seriously, that's a rad turquoise necklace as well.

Thank you to A for participating and adding a bit of variety to the site as well.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Trip to the tailor

Although I've been lucky (and persistent) enough to find a solid rotation of clothes that fit me well at thrift stores, I've also been known to purchase things that are close, but not quite there. What usually happens is that they stack up in corner of a rack somewhere until I get off my butt and get them altered, and that doesn't always happen immediately.

About nine months ago I made a post with pictures of a sport coat that I picked up that I liked quite a bit. Made entirely of rough silk, the navy/off white herringbone pattern goes with a lot of different combinations, and adds a subtle texture to just about everything. When I put the sport coat on that day, it felt a little bit boxy, and despite getting a nice compliment on it at work, the photos in the aforementioned post made me realize that it needed a bit of work.

navy herringbone

After an alteration that I was less-than-flattered with at another tailor, I grabbed a stack of three things and took them to a fellow in town who had been recommended to me by two others. In total, there were three sport coats, two of which I had brought in at the waist, and all three of which had sleeve adjustments.

navy herringbone full

The aforementioned herringbone sport coat came back, and I immediately felt better when I put it on. I didn't have it aggressively brought-in, as I have a tendency to pop a v-neck sweater on sometimes under just about everything, but the fit is enormously better.

side by side

Here they are side-by-side, just for good measure. With the alterations, this coat has gone from an afterthought in the back of my closet to one of my favorites. Considering what I paid for the changes (roughly $35*), I'd say it was worth every penny.

Oh, and yes, those are red suede bucks down there.

red suede on dead grass

*$35 is just an estimate, as my total bill for all three pieces came out to just under $80. This cost was about 60% of what I figured I was going to have to fork over, but when the the tailor that I took them to (an older Greek gentleman with a small paper full of chicken-scratched numbers) told me the price, I happily paid and didn't even ask for price breakdown. Needless to say, he'll be getting a lot more of my future business.