Friday, May 31, 2019

The Timelessness of Trad Style

This popped up on Ivy Style's Facebook page today; it's a textbook example of what people mean by trad style being timeless good taste:

  • Natural shoulders 
  • Three-roll-two button stance (not mandatory, but leaves less room for some designer to get too trendy)
  • Jacket just long enough to cover the rear end
  • Sleeves shortened to show 1/4" to 1" of shirt cuff (amount depending on personal preference)
  • Full-cut trousers (not too baggy or too tight) with a classic rise (placing the waistband on the natural waist, over the bellybutton)
  • Trousers tailored with a slight break, long enough to cover the socks when walking but not long enough to puddle (this is a matter of preference to some extent, but that length always looks good)
  • Substantial cuffs, 1 3/4" to 2" high (optional, but they always look good)
  • Lapels, collar points and tie all around 3 1/2 inches
  • Natural (or at least natural-looking) fabrics
  • Round-toe leather oxfords in cap-toe or some brogue variation (as in this case)
This ad is nearly SEVENTY years old. But, were this man to ditch the hat (not because it doesn't look good or that he shouldn't wear it if he wants to, but because it does date the look) and the cigarette, he could walk off of the page and onto the street in 2019 and look perfectly in style. (The fact that he's so dressed up by today's standards might turn some heads, but the point is the details of his clothes' fabrics and proportions wouldn't strike anyone as dated today.)

As Cary Grant commented in the Winter 1967/68 issue of GQ about his own wardrobe:

"I'm often asked for advice or an opinion about clothes, and I always try to answer the best I can, but I'm not inclined to regard myself as an authority on the subject. Many times during my years in films, some well-meaning group has selected me as best-dressed man of the year, but I've never understood why. The odd distinction surprises me: first, because I don't consider myself especially well dressed, and, secondly, I've never, as far as I can compare the efforts of others with my own, gone to any special trouble to acquire clothes that could be regarded as noticeably fashionable or up-to-date.
"Some of my suits are ten to twenty years old, many of them ready-made and reasonably priced. Those that were custom-tailored were made by many different tailors in many different cities: London, Hong Kong, New York and Los Angeles. I believe that American ready-made clothes are the best ready-made clothes in the world: that the well-dressed American man makes a better appearance than the well-dressed man of any other country.
"No, it isn't only money that determines how well a man dresses—it's personal taste. Because of the demands of my work, I've purchased dozens of suits over the years and they all have one attribute in common: they are in the middle of fashion. By that I mean they're not self-consciously fashionable or far out, nor are they overly conservative or dated. In other words, the lapels are neither too wide nor too narrow, the trousers neither too tight nor too loose, the coats neither too short nor too long. I've worn clothes of extreme style, but only in order to dress appropriately for the type of character I played in particular films. Otherwise, simplicity, to me, has always been the essence of good taste."

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving 2017

I hope everyone has a great day.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Link: How to Buy Great Suits on eBay for Nothing by Jeffrey Tucker

This article has a lot of useful information.

My closet is full of Brooks Brothers, Polo Ralph Lauren and Southwick suits and sport coats (as well as some from other brands) from eBay. None had any visible wear. All of my suits cost around $55 each (around $50 seems to be most guys' price ceiling), maybe $100 each after alterations. It's beyond me why anyone would buy some trendy, glued-together piece of junk suit from the likes of Kohl's when they could get something 10x better quality for less money.

My only quibble is the note on lapel size. This should be determined by proportionality, not by the whims of fashion. A width of about 3 1/2 inches never goes out of style (for notch lapels on single-breasted jackets; peaked lapels on double-breasteds can be up to about five inches).

The 3 1/2 inch rule also applies to ties.

Regardless, I'm pleased to see that Tucker is still fighting the good fight. There aren't many of us left.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Target retiring its "Merona" brand

The news is that Target is retiring its "Merona" brand, presumably soon. 

I've recommended their Merona polos before; they're 100% cotton, logo-less, and with tails (the longer back half helps a polo stay tucked in, and the slit between the front and back makes it more comfortable tucked or untucked). They're an amazing value at their usual retail price of about $13, and an insane value on sale (I picked up two more earlier this summer when they were only $7). 

My only complaint is inconsistent sizing, so try them on before you buy.  

I plan to hit Target in the next few days to see if they're on clearance, and I recommend that everyone else do the same. 

Hopefully they'll release another polo at least as good, just under a different name. 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Are Your Straw Hats Ready?

I saw this on Facebook tonight, and it reminded me that Memorial Day is this Monday, the unquestioned start of the summer clothing season, which includes straw hats. 

One-hundred years ago (and much more recently), Straw Hat Day was an official thing, often proclaimed by the mayor of a given town sometime in April; often it was either May 1 or May 15, but sometimes as early as Easter (especially in the South, where the weather warms sooner). 

But no-one will question that it's okay to wear things like straw hats (and white bucks, seersucker, etc.) on Memorial Day and after. (Although apparently a May 20, 1908 editorial in the New York Times pegged Straw Hat Day as June 15.)  

Unfortunately, wearing any type of dress hat in 2017, especially with a suit, will cause many to look at you askance, so don't obsess over this stuff too much; it's mostly arcane historical trivia at this point. 

But don't wear your straw hat until Monday. 😀