Thursday, December 29, 2011

Late Fall - Early Winter, 2011

If there's one good thing about colder weather, it's being able to use the fullest extent of your wardrobe. Summer is for the minimal; shorts, polo, and boat shoes will get you by. But its the winter season that offers the best opportunity to show off your elegant sartorial knowledge.

My family and I took a trip to the Appalachians in the height of the Autumn leaf change to escape from things and decompress. A family friend lent us his mountain home in Black Mountain, NC. It's a scenic quaint town and I recommend a visit if you're in the area. This is what I wore to tour the beautiful Biltmore mansion in nearby Asheville. Shoes and belt don't match. Meh.

Brooks Brothers Regent rain overcoat with inner lining removable vest
Ralph Lauren multi-colored windowpane dress shirt
J. Crew belt
Brooks Brothers denim
Clarks Desert Boots
Seiko 5 watch

Mild day in the mountains. I enjoy the occasional outdoor hike and biking (my poser excuse to wear Fratagonia) and took advantage of the mountain trails. I recommend the very comfortable Merrell Moab XCR trainers for the off road diversion. Pictured below is my newest pair and they hold up very well (my first pair lasted for years and were still going strong but I ended up giving them away). The Moab is an awesome outdoor shoe, and this waterproof version is a good technical alternative to the Bean boots. The high socks are for shits and giggles.
Patagonia Synchilla Snap-T Fleece Pullover
Gap fatigue t shirt
Patagonia Stand Up shorts, 7" inseam...very TFM
Bass hiking socks (made in USA)
Bolle sunglasses with Croakies
Merrell Moab Gore-Tex XCR trainers

Dressing up for class. I am wearing a light weight long sleeve polo in violet and a v-neck sweater in an earthy sand brown. I like this color combination and the whole outfit reminds me of 1960s west coast modernism. Tangible luxury. The belt is made of an alligator embossed leather that adds that extra richness.

Ralph Lauren polo
Lands End v-neck sweater
Gap cotton dress pants
Trafalgar alligator embossed belt with J. Crew engine-turned plaque
J Crew fair-isle socks (made in USA)
Cole Haan penny loafers

Night in the town.
Brooks Brothers twill sport coat
Brooks Brothers lambswool v-neck sweater
Ralph Lauren tartan OCBD
Levis 501 STF
J. Crew belt
Clarks Desert Boots
Gap scarf (made in Italy)

Casual dinner.
Lands End Canvas shawl sweater
Ralph Lauren ringer t shirt
Brooks Brothers denim
LL Bean blucher mocs
Hamilton Khaki watch with NATO strap

Dinner at a local rustic farm turned upscale restaurant. I wanted to go for a country gentleman feel for the occasion. I'm wearing a shirt and belt from Orvis which is known for its outdoor line.

J. Crew University Coat with Thinsulate*
Orvis Tattersall
Orvis Shotgun Belt (made in USA)
Brooks Brothers Clark corduroy pants
Brooks Brothers argyle socks
Cole Haan saddle bucks, vintage, (made in USA)

*That coat is a great example of budget shopping. It's originally priced at $255, but a few weeks ago it dropped down to $150 on the website. In-store the coat was more expensive at $200, but they honored the website price when I brought it up. Plus they were having an additional 30% off to make the coat price total around $100. Good deal. But then I used a J. Crew gift card purchased from a Craigslist listing for $75 at a face value of $100. So I basically only paid ~$75 for this jacket. Better deal.

Last minute Christmas shopping. Usually not a fan of wearing duck boots when it's dry, but this classic Bean boots + Bean Norwegian sweater pairing seemed right to me.

Sterlingwear of Boston Pea Coat, Authentic model (made in USA)
LL Bean Norwegian Bird's Eye sweater (made in Norway)
Brooks Brothers tattersall
Lands End tailored fit chinos
LL Bean rubber mocs (made in USA)
J. Crew hiking wool socks (made in USA)

Christmas Eve and Midnight Mass. Decided to go trad semi-formal and added in the Pippy Longstocking red socks for the holiday spirit. The tie is thrifted and was made for the Roos Atkins chain, a defunct upscale men's store based in San Francisco.

Brooks Brothers Regent rain overcoat, vest removed
Brooks Brothers twill sport coat
Club Room slim fit spread collar dress shirt (surprisingly nice and cheap quick fix)
Grenadier for Roos Atkins wool tie, vintage
Brooks Brothers Regent gabardine dress pants
Trafalgar alligator embossed belt with J. Crew engine-turned plaque (not in view)*
J. Crew socks
Bostonian Cap Toe dress shoes*+
Bucherer dress watch with alligator embossed watch strap*

*Minor but notable details: Accessories and shoes are formal black. Belt and watch strap are both alligator leather patterned.

+ Confession: I don't own the trad required Allen Edmonds Park Avenus just yet. These shoes were purchased from a birthday Macys gift card as a quick fix for a funeral a few years ago and have been used for infrequent occasions since then. The PAs are on my to-buy list, but these Bostonians have served well and will eventually be my dress shoe shit kickers.

Post Christmas shopping / Crowd Surfing on a cold, rainy winter day.
LL Bean Signature G9 jacket
Brooks Brothers 1/4 zip sweater
Orvis tattersall
Orvis shotgun belt
Levis 505
LL Bean rubber mocs

Friday, November 18, 2011

Autumn Drive

I love this time of year. Each of the seasons has its own sense of unique flavor, but Fall is my favorite. There is a lot of things that make this season great. Leaves changing is a given. The slight brisk in the air, enough to cool down from Summer but not enough to give you frost bite like Winter. The state fairs. Return of the holidays. Football.

Last week, my older brother and I visited home to check in with my mother, and during some down time I decided to go for a short drive to enjoy what's left of peak leaf-turning climate. Just 5 minutes away from my house is a scenic country drive in the Piedmont region of North Carolina that I love to take to nowhere, and the Fall is the best time to experience it.

So I hopped into my brother's Volvo C70 convertible and enjoyed the day's unusually warm temperature. Nothing better than blue skys, top down, and some Autumn Defense (appropriately named) playing in the wind.

Some pictures I took of the serenity. I'll have a vacation country estate one day and live it up like a scene out of Ralph's catalog.

I love his car so I had to take a few pics of it too. My brother plans on keeping it as a future "beater" (if he literally drives it to the ground I'll kill him) and then pass it on to his kid. Beat-up Volvos are the perfect first car for high school students. Mine was my dad's 940. Very trad.

Volvo convertible? Check. Perfect WASPy environment? Check. Jacket over the shoulders? Asshole.

BB tattersall OCBD
BB bomber jacket
Leatherman Ltd. Belt
Levis 505
Allen Edmonds Winthrop driving loafers
Ray Ban Aviators (ruby shade of the lens enhances the Autumn colors)
2004 Volvo C70 Limited (black on black babay)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Harriman Cup

The annual Harriman Cup is an alumni polo match between Yale and UVA that benefits each school's athletic departments. Their website has an awesome collection of pictures and are worth the scavenging through, if not for the chicks in short summer dresses, then for the preppy bastards in cool GTH attire.

Hot girls in summer dresses.

Lucky guy. Shotgun belt.

Hanging with the Broskis.

Proper short inseam with a ribbon belt.

RL model guy/real life polo player Ignacio "Nacho" Figueras.

Via Unabashedly Prep

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Generations of Style

My style is a product of two parts. The first involves a creation story originating with American Eagle, migrating over J. Crew, and eventually settling into what it is today. And the other: a heritage passed down from my grandfather to my father, and from my father to me.

Unlike so many grown men these days, my dad embraced fashion and cared about how he looked. My grandpa instilled this into him, who himself was a successful banker and had an eye for the timeless, as you can see from his clothes that had been given to me in a few of my pictures. Despite certain stereotypes involving men and a taste for clothing, Dad was never flamboyant or "dandy" about his style. Growing up in the 1970s and 1980s, he loved and reminisced in the styling of his day. He adored The Beatles and The Bee Gees and copied Paul's Cuban-heeled boots and Andy's loose necks, tight bell-bottoms, and long hair. As he grew older, his style mellowed out and became decidedly boring until a renaissance of preppy attitude that sparked around the same time I started to get into clothing. We pretty much fed off each other in our respective styles.

My father and I did the usual things that are windows into childhood memories, such as shooting hoops, barbecuing outside, and tending to the car. But my most special memories are of us taking shopping trips during my summer breaks in middle and early high school. It may sound like something a mother/daughter pairing may enjoy after a manny & peddy, but our trips had some reasoning (or more like an excuse) in that my dad wanted to sell clothes on eBay as a side income, which sparked my own hobby of thrifting and flipping. Dad taught me the golden rule of being frugal and going for the best deals possible. We sold mostly men's clothing since that's what we knew best, and as our number of shopping trips grew, so did our closets in both quantity and quality. Ultimately we bonded more than what few dollars we made online and I am glad we created those fond memories. Those shopping trips were fun and something we looked forward to. Made my mother happy too, since she could relax after a full day's work at the department store with her going one way towards the shoe department and us going towards the clearance racks. We stopped doing those regular trips when I grew older, especially since I could now drive and it was uncool to hang out with my parents, but whenever we had some free time on the weekends we'd always find ourselves eating lunch at McDonald's and heading to the mall to search for the next deal.

Dad's style went through a period of 1990s misfortune before arriving and growing into something more mature and respectable of his age. He had sailed into the preppy seas, with some hits (pair of J. Crew green chinos) and some misses (a colorful Ralph Lauren plaid military shirt that would make Lily Pulitzer blush). Over the past couple of years, with my own direction becoming sharper, it was eventually me taking charge in our sartorial friendship. His two all-time favorite brands were Ralph Lauren and Lacoste, especially their polos that he had worn since he was my age in college. After all, his standard attire was a polo with shorts in the summer, and a polo and chinos or his trusty Levis in the winter. But by late high school I had discovered J. Crew and introduced it to him, which he gladly appreciated, and that store soon became the highlight of our mall visits. On any given Sunday you could find us in the sales section at the back. Then J. Crew lead into dear ol' Brooks Brothers and his eyes followed. Glad I have not [yet] climbed to the likes of Brioni and Oxxford or our house would have been foreclosed by now.

Check out those wide collars. Late 1970s. *I altered the following pictures because of my obsession with anonymity.

Dad and his old Beetle. One of his many Lacoste polos. Early 1980s.

Lacoste polo and Beatle boots. Ray Ban aviators.

Mom and Dad. Lacoste polo. Mid 1980s.

Dad loved our LX450. We had a lot of great family trips in that car. Eventually sold our work horse for a smaller, more economical Volvo.
Flash forward a few years to my high school graduation. Dad is on the right. Lacoste polo and J Crew chinos.

My older brother is on the left, Dad on the right. Ralph and boat shoes. Like father, like sons.

One of father's few misses, an RL pink polo with embroided snakes. He means well. That tank dress watch is an old Seiko he has had since the 70s.

Comes all together in our family photo taken two winters ago. I take credit for hand picking all of our clothes in this shot (seriously). Even our dog is wearing an argyle vest which you can't really see. I have a whale on my face. Everyone is wearing Brooks Brothers that my whole family is in love with now. I take credit for that too.

Dad passed away last month after 11 years of fighting cancer. He is survived by his wife of 30 years, his two sons, and family dog.

Love ya Dad. RIP.

1955 - 2011