Thursday, March 29, 2012

Racing horses and racing dogs

While I've never been a big fan of horse-racing, I can certainly appreciate it from an aesthetic sense. Horses are magnificent beasts, and although it's been years, I've had the pleasure of riding them on more than one occasion. On a recent thrifting adventure, I caught sight of a horse motif (once again, in the women's scarves), and pulled it out only to find that at 13 inches square, it was going to be the newest addition to my slowly-growing pocket square collection.

pocket square

It's 100% silk, made in France and printed with the name Daniel La Forêt, which, at least based on internet searches, isn't particularly sought-after. That said, the silk is super soft without being flimsy and with hand-rolled edges and a crisp print it seems like the quality on it is above average (and at $1.99, a bargain).

horses detail

Like a lot of great printed pocket squares, it's one of those pieces that has such a keen level of detail that it's almost frustrating to know that most of the design is going to end up stuffed down into a pocket.

dog socks

Zooming into completely different territory, it seems that I have a hard time passing up whimsical motifs of just about any nature these days, so when I ran across these socks recently at Target (in a 2-pack with a more staple print at $1.99), I again had to drop 2 bills.

I've already featured our dogs a couple times on this site, and while these socks appear to feature Greyhounds (or possibly Whippets), I couldn't resist. With the bases at least partially covered on birds, whales, lobsters, and the aforementioned horses, it was time to include yet another member of the animal kingdom.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Style Share return: Brooks Brothers tie

How many Brooks Brothers ties have I passed along since I started Style Share? At least ten, and here's one that was claimed back in February.

Brooks Brothers purple black stripe

Purple isn't a color that I run across a great deal around here, so I figured this one would go fast, and it did. It was claimed by Prinz Ulrich von Boffke, a repeat contributor.

Brooks Brothers return

photos courtesy Prinz Ulrich von Boffke

I'll let him give the details on the above...

The tie was worn with a navy Jos A. Bank "trio" suit (purchased on sale a couple of years ago) and a thrifted no-name silk pocket square with hand-rolled edges that has some dark purple in it. The shirt is a Land's End (purchased new but reduced some years ago) and the shoes that day were, I think, some Johnston Murphy black cap toe oxfords that I won for about $20 a year ago on ebay.

Bargains galore (right up my alley), and I like how the purple is played with subtlety here. Thanks again, PUvB.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Trip to the tailor part two

About a month and a half ago, I wrote a post about taking a stack of sport coats to a tailor in order to get them in more wearable shape. Because of weather conditions, one of them (a thick lambswool number) only got worn a single time before it was put back into storage for the spring/summer, but another of the three has made several appearances (and should work through spring).

This particular piece was one that I actually found way back in the summer of 2011 (it definitely would have made my list), then wore once and promptly returned to the closet because I realized it didn't fit me as well as I would have liked. Alas, at the same time that I had a couple other sport coats fixed up, this one (sleeves lengthened and waist suppressed) was altered as well.

ticket pocket jacket

As with a fair portion of my favorite clothes, this piece doesn't have a designer label, but is instead from a regional shop, made in the days when there were a lot more small clothiers and quality items made in the United States. My guess is that it's actually an orphaned jacket (and what I would give to have gotten the pants and possible vest along with it!) and the through the magic of thrifting I was only able to acquire the one piece. It's made of a nice, medium-weight wool and features some nice detailing (including the ticket pocket), and filled a niche in my wardrobe, so I certainly can't complain.

ticket pocket jacket

On this particular occasion, I paired it with a white button-down, a vintage gold grenadine tie, a plain linen pocket square, some darker chinos, and my trusty Florsheim ankle-boots. Kind of a disparate mixture, but nothing was too outlandish in color, so it didn't feel awkward.

As with the previous piece, the tailoring results on this jacket were nice enough that I've piled up another batch of items to take in and have worked on (including this beast). More results will be forthcoming.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Style Share return: Altea tie

Another return, this one from February, back when it was just unseasonably warm and not holy crap is it going to be 120 degrees every day this summer? warm.

Altea woven

This nice Altea woven silk tie was claimed by repeat-contributor TDP, who wore it out on the town and to a concert.

Altea tie ensemble

photo courtesy TDP

As usual, I'll let him give the details...

Paired the tie with a navy wool-silk Gucci suit, no-name white silk pocket square, no-name ancient white shirt, unseen Romano Martegani black calf captoes, and unseen ancient yellow cotton socks from the Andover shop.

Good stuff, as always, and now that he's rocked the double-breasted blazers a couple times, it makes me think that I need to redouble efforts to find one of my own. I've been averse to them for a long time, but I'm starting to think I could pull one off.

Thanks as always, to TDP, and to everyone else who has played along.

Monday, March 12, 2012

How low can you go?

When you own a house that's closing in on 100 years old, there's always a list of things that need to be done. Lots of the list is hopefully small, but once in awhile a bigger thing needs taken care of and it's usually enough to throw schedules and routines out of rhythm. That's what's been happening in my world the past two weeks, but fortunately the worst is over and done with.

Because this is a blog about style on a budget (or a bargain), I've often thought about making a post featuring an ensemble with the absolute bare minimum invested, just to see what I could pull off. Over the years, I've purchased shirts, trousers, ties, and even shoes and a couple suits and sport coats for a single dollar each, but I've never tried to combine them all into something that would add up to be a single outfit comprised of items purchased with Washingtons.

windowpane and blue

I thought of the above just last week, because I came darn close without even really trying to do so. The jacket is an older Jos A. Bank piece that I picked up over the winter during a blowout sale (for $1), and it was the first time I wore it. Obviously, it's not top-end quality, but with an infant who still sometimes spits up without advance notice, I'm not going to sweat it. The tie is a Polo Ralph Lauren linen number, also purchased for a dollar, and the cream chinos and vintage Florsheim wingtips below (both unpictured) were the same price.

windowpane and blue closeup

The only thing that really bumps up the average price is the shirt (Lands' End), which was purchased off ebay in a lot and came out to $8 including shipping. The pocket square is a lovely vintage piece from Yankee Whisky Papa, and it worked absolutely perfectly here.

I've never been one to fawn over designer names (although I certainly get a kick out of finding them on occasion), and after putting this all together I felt like it all came off pretty nicely. When I realized that I'd probably only invested about $25 total in the ensemble (give or take), including undergarments, it made me feel even better.

After all, I've got a college fund (and a nearly 100 year old house) to worry about.