Friday, December 12, 2014


Heavy Tweed Jacket's Tumblr is active again! It's not much, but I'll take whatever I can get.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Link: G. Bruce Boyer Profile

The "Die, Workwear!" blog has a link showcasing a profile of G. Bruce Boyer's wardrobe and home in the March 2014 issue of "Free and Easy," a Japanese magazine. I LOVE pieces like this. 

It reminds me of a similar feature on Richard Merkin's wardrobe and New York apartment (with the text of the article written by Merkin himself) in the Nov. 1990 issue of GQ. That's still one of my all-time favorite articles about men's style (shown through the lens of one man's style); I still have the issue and probably re-read that piece at least once a year.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Knowledge: Defiance vs. Ignorance

Some readers took issue with some of the items on the recent post with the list of 25 Sartorial Rules. 

I guess it's not surprising that some disagreed with not buttoning the bottom button of a vest. I could go either way, although I do regard leaving it unbuttoned as one of the marks of a sophisticated dresser, illogical as that may be.

I was more surprised at the dissent over leaving the bottom button of a suit jacket/sport coat/blazer undone. I'm aware that some jackets are cut more toward buttoning it than not, and I'm also aware that some great dressers, like Cary Grant and JFK, used to sometimes button theirs. 

I always say that most fashion rules are rules-of-thumb, rather than absolutes. I also always say that it's better to break a rule out of defiance than out of ignorance. It's one thing to know, for example, that the bottom button of a jacket isn't traditionally buttoned, but to deliberately discard that rule and button it anyway, for whatever reason; it's quite another to button it because you have no idea that it's not supposed to be buttoned. 

The people taking issue with this rule seem to have missed the whole point of this list; it was clearly aimed at educating people who don't know any better, not at people who do know better but disagree.

I've written before about looking through an album of a friend of mine on Facebook from Easter or something. An apparently 20-something female friend of a 20-something male (the husband of my friend's cousin) asked him why he left the bottom button of his jacket open, and he responded, "I think you're supposed to." It's like neither of them has ever seen a man in a suit before. THOSE are the types of people these lists are written for.


For the record, I think anyone who buttons the bottom button of their jacket -- even Cary Grant or JFK -- looks like a hillbilly.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Photo: Widespread Ivy

Someone posted this today on Ivy Style's Facebook page. It's a jacket from Sears' "Traditional Collection," which the owner dates from the 1960s. The lapels appear to bear that out; they're a little narrow for my taste. But check out the other details: 3/2 roll, swelled edges, and natural shoulders, which the owner reports as an ultra-tradly 19".

It's hard to believe that stuff like this was once so widely available; Ivy style obviously spread beyond the northeast and the rarefied confines of purveyors like Brooks Brothers and J. Press, to middle America and even to middle-class outlets like Sears. SEARS! Amazing. (My recent post on long-wing "gunboats" also showed a pair from Sears that I found on eBay.) 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Link: 25 Sartorial Rules

The blog "Put This On" has a list called "Twenty-Five Pieces of Basic Sartorial Knowledge So You Don’t Look Dumb." Sadly, most men I see today need at least some of these. It's astounding how quickly this knowledge has been lost; I believe it was basic, common knowledge just a couple of generations ago.

I enthusiastically agree with 23 of them. 

The two exceptions: 

"20. Never wear visible socks with shorts."

I don't have a strong opinion either way; I generally see shorts as utilitarian and inherently unstylish, and the bare male leg as unattractive. 

"Never wear polyester outside of the gym or theme parties."

Polyester isn't ideal. But, in my opinion, cotton-poly shirts that still look and basically feel like 100% cotton, or silk-poly ties that still look and basically feel like 100% silk, aren't deal-breakers.  

Regardless, this is probably the best and most succinct list of basic sartorial rules I've ever seen. I wish every man would read and internalize it. 

I reproduce it below, in case it's ever removed: 

1. Unbutton the bottom button of your jacket. It’s not intended to be buttoned.

2. Same goes for your vest. 

3. Remove the tags on the sleeves of your jacket before you wear it. 

4. Jackets sometimes come with white basting thread on their shoulders or holding closed their vents. Remove this thread before wearing the jacket. 

5. Jacket pockets are intended to be opened. Use a small scissor or seam ripper. 

6. More than three jacket buttons is never appropriate for anything. 

7. On a three-button coat, buttoning the top button is optional, and some lapels are rolled so as to make the top button ornamental. In other words: if buttoning the top button seems wrong, it is. 

8. Brown shoes, brown belt. Black shoes, black belt. 

9. Belt or suspenders. Never belt and suspenders. 

10. Your jacket sleeve should be short enough to show some shirt cuff - about half an inch.  

11. Your pants should end at your shoes without puddling. A slight or half break means that there is one modest inflection point in the front crease. If your pants break both front and back or if they break on the sides, they’re too long. 

12. Your coat should follow and flatter the lines of your upper body, not pool around them. You should be able to slip a hand in to get to your inside breast pocket, but if the jacket’s closed and you can pound your heart with your fist, it’s too big. 

13. When you buy a suit or sportcoat, it should be altered to fit by a tailor. This will cost between $25 and $100. 

14. Your tie should reach your belt line - it shouldn’t end above your belt or below it.

15. Your tie knot should have a dimple. 

16. Only wear a tie if you’re also wearing a suit or sportcoat (or, very casually, a sweater). Shirt, tie and no jacket is the wedding uniform of a nine-year-old. 

17. The only men who should wear black suits during the day are priests, undertakers, secret agents, funerals attendees and yokels. 

18. Cell phone holsters are horrible. 

19. So are square-toed shoes. 

20. Never wear visible socks with shorts. 

21. Or any socks with sandals. 

22. If your shirt is tucked in, you should be wearing a belt (or suspenders, if you’re wearing a jacket as well, or your trousers should have side adjusters and no belt loops). 

23. Flip flops are great for the pool and the beach and not great for anything else. (Some say this is a matter of taste. We agree. If you have any taste, you will only wear flip-flops at the beach or pool.) 

24. Long ties are not appropriate with a tuxedo. 

25. Never wear polyester outside of the gym or theme parties.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Knowledge: Wet-Shaving vs. Electric Razors

I've written about wet-shaving before. 

I decided earlier this year to buy an electric razor to at least try. I don't remember the exact model I bought, but it's a Norelco with three round heads, similar to this one; I bought it at Target for about $50 (on sale from about $60, as I recall).  

Everything in life is a trade-off; almost nothing is all good or all bad (and, of course, what constitutes "good" and "bad" is often subjective). 

The Good:

An electric razor is more convenient: you don't have to mess with water or lather, the multiple implements, or the post-shave clean-up they entail; you don't have to shave in front of a mirror, or even in the bathroom; it's impossible to cut yourself or (at least in my experience) to get razor-burn; and it allows you to multitask in ways that are impossible with wet-shaving (the truth is on days when I'm running late, I not only use my electric razor, but I sometimes use it while I'm going to the bathroom). It's also good for days when have time to wet-shave, but don't feel like going through the hassle that day.

The Bad:

As I suspected, it's not as close as a blade.  For me, it's about 90% as close; it probably puts my beard about where it would be maybe 12 hours after a wet-shave. That's obviously not as good, but some days good enough is good enough. 

It's not any faster. This was the most surprising thing about the experience to me; it probably takes five minutes -- I'd guess literally about 20 passes over every area of my face -- to get an acceptably close shave. But it still shaves with no irritation, even after that many passes.

The Verdict

I still wet-shave probably 50-80% of the time (it varies from week-to-week). But, even for the most ardent wet-shaver, having the electric as an option for days when you're in a hurry or aren't in the mood to wet-shave is definitely worthwhile.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Reader Behavior

Assuming the numbers are correct, about six times more people have read the previous post titled "Post Frequency" than have read the entry below it that it made reference to. I wonder how someone could read Post A about Post B, but then not want to go read Post B that was the whole reason for Post A in the first place? What's even more strange is that B is right below A, so it's not like anyone even has to do any clicking, much less any searching. You literally can't read A without scrolling down far enough to see the beginning of B right below it. Odd.