Thursday, September 15, 2011

Joys of Hunting

Half the fun is the feeling of accomplishment when you find that one friggin' awesome deal, or as a hat trick: combining cheapness, rarity, and the hard labor and time searching for the item . I've recently celebrated these accomplished goals in two recent purchases.

First up are my new Allen Edmonds Winthrop loafers. I've been in the market for driving loafers for months because I do a lot of driving and my other shoes are starting to hurt at the heel after repetitive pedal action. Driving loafers offer a comfortable solution with soling specific to gripping the pedal, and rounded padding for ergonomics. Unfortunately, the sole usually wears down fast if you use the shoe for anything other than taking the car out for a spin, i.e. every other occasion. After a few days of research on various internet forums, I found that the AE Winthops last longer as the sole is durable enough for walking, as opposed to the popular Cole Haan Garrison loafers which use rubber nubs that tend to erode easily.

While doing the research, I found that Allen Edmonds at one time made the loafer in a Chili Brown, which gives the shoe leather a luxurious suppleness. Me being anal about color, and the fact most of my shoes are already dark brown, I did not want the boring grain brown or navy models that are currently offered, nor the tan color that is too light for my tastes, a la Italian shipping heir brat. So my eyes were set on the chili color, and when I get transfixed on a clothing goal, I never settle for less. My first intuition was to call the Allen Edmonds Shoe Bank in Washington, WI which is the clearance center for all discontinued models. The nice people there confirmed that there were no new Winthrops in chili in the whole company.

Well damn.

It took a few weeks scouring various internet markets before ecstatically finding a New Old Stock (NOS) pair in chili brown on eBay for $130. This turned out to be a big mistake. I did not take into account that Allen Edmonds tend to run small for this model of shoes, as I soon found out when the eBay loafers arrived. They looked good but just too snug for my feet. And of course the seller had a no return policy, adamant even when I contacted him. Fair enough, but now I had a sunk cost that I needed to get rid of while continuing to search for a larger pair and hopefully not losing anymore money at the same time.

All was lost? That's how I felt, except for the style gods took pity on me and sent another pair of NOS Winthrops in my size, listed on eBay a week later, priced at a cheaper $100. Within the same day, received an offer for my previously bought Winthrops that I had listed on Style Forum's Buy/Sell section for the original $130. At the end of both transactions, I got rid of the old shoes, traded for extremely rare shoes that happen to be in my size, and actually saved some money in the process.


Look at 'em. They look better in person.

Next story is about my hunt for a new blazer. My favorite Anderson-Little blue blazer is starting to get tight (downside reward of gaining weight at the gym) and I promised myself that my next one would be from J. Press. This is because the brand is synonymous to trad academia and I've always seen the "blue blazer with gold buttons" through a schoolboy's Buddy Holly glasses. Also, a J Press navy blazer is coveted and highly respected in trad world.

Even at sale price, J Press is way too expensive for my ever-shrinking budget, and so I resort to other sources like usual. If you scour eBay, you'd find J Press is rare and highly prized, and so it was to my chagrin to find after a few months of patient waiting, a 3/2 roll, natural shoulder, sack blazer going for under a $100. It was late at night when I won the auction, which probably had something to do with my luck (protip: always have your auction end on an afternoon between 5-9pm, when people are at home and awake).

J Press was the last empty hole in my closet, and now I finally have something to fill it from the high tier trad brand. Next up: a Shaggy Dog sweater...and so the hunt begins again.

Late Summer, 2011

It appears Blogger has implemented a picture viewer (kind of like Facebook) when you click on the pictures. Drag and drop the photo to your address bar to see it upclose.

July 4th celebrations
You may not be able to tell here, but this outfit is subtly patriotic. The polo is a dark red/burgundy shade, the seersucker shorts are blue and white, and my Volunteer Traditions belt sums it all together. Originally was going to wear an OCBD, but it was an extremely humid afternoon where I watched the events and fireworks.

Brooks Brothers polo
J Crew seersucker shorts
Volunteer Traditions belt (made by Leatherman Ltd.)
Sperry boat shoes
Seiko 5 watch

Casual Outing
Brooks Brothers OCBD
Land's End shorts
Allen Edmonds Winthrop driving loafers
Belted Cow belt

The belt reads like a movie film strip as the lacrosse player takes a shot. Takes me back to my playing days.

Beach Vacation
Yet another Fun Shirt...for something I don't wear often, I obviously have a problem. Usually an OCBD should be tucked in, but I was going for a relaxed vibe with this as I walked down the boardwalk. Colors add to the festivity.

Brooks Brothers "Fun Shirt" OCBD
Ralph Lauren shorts
Allen Edmonds Winthrop Loafers

School Days
Brooks Brothers polo
Lands End tailored chinos
Sperry boat shoes
Leatherman Ltd belt in school colors

Brooks Brothers Tattersall OCBD
Ralph Lauren chinos
LL Bean belt
Allen Edmonds Winthrop driving loafers

School Convocation

Decided to go all out this year with my most trad attire to-date; everything I am wearing is a culmination of trad lore. Yeah, I just e-gasmed.

J. Press Sack 3/2 roll blazer
Brooks Brothers seersucker pants
Cole Haan penny loafers
Leatherman Ltd belt
Mystic River bowtie in school colors
Hamilton Khaki field watch on NATO strap
Ray Ban Aviators
Long Johns for underwear**

The details


1) ** denotes a joke
2) Noticed I've been collecting a lot of Brooks Brothers. This too, is a product of my trad-daddy obsession.

Thursday, September 8, 2011


Tonight is the first game of the 2011-12 NFL season, a match up between the past two Super Bowl winners: the Green Bay Packers and the New Orleans Saints. While the Packers have a huge fan base of cheeseheads and oversized Farve jerseys (that is, if the jersey hadn't been burned out of spite when the Great One retired, then un-retired for the Jets in 2008), the Saints equally have the unwavering support of a majestic city, New Orleans. Those crawfish sucking, trumpet blaring, fleur-de-lis Bayou folk love when the Saints come marching in, and had even more pride when their boys won the championship two years ago, restoring faith in the same French quarter that Hurricane Katrina had once flooded only a few years prior. I'm sure the Packers had a chip on their shoulder, and brought back the Lombardi trophy to its original home last season, so we'll see how the grudge plays out tonight.

If you are a Saints or LSU fan, you undoubtedly have the Perlis Crawfish Polo in gameday colors. Or maybe a Perlis rugby in Madi Gras stripes when the event comes around once a year in its drunken glory. A hometown staple, Perlis is a great example of a local trad favorite, famous among the deep southern preps in Louisiana and surrounding gulf states.

Don't mistake the Red Crawfish logo as something a Red Lobster employee would wear, although understandable since pretty much no one outside of 'Narlines has ever really heard of it. But the hole-in-the-wall establishment has endured over 70 years on the corner of Webster and Magazine street, and the crawfish logo is as ubiquitous to the traditional menswear store as brightly colored bead necklaces are to the city. And much like other obscure brands, the fratters at LSU and other regional schools have inherited the Crawfish and made it their own, TFM.

Perlis has been in the family of the same namesake for three generations, with founder Roger Perlis opening doors with a mission to provide premium men's suiting and custom tailoring, along with their exclusive in-house branded clothing. Below is current owner David G. Perlis and his son David W. Perlis, who has brought a new direction to the store and remodeled it in 2000.

I only have one article of Perlis clothing, as featured in the title photograph and below. I picked up this red polo shirt at a local thrift store, and if I had not recognized the logo (then daydreamed how this NOLA transplant got to my neck of the woods) then I probably would've passed it over. Unfortunately it is probably an earlier 1980s model and is a little too slim for me to wear regularly; usually the polo has a full cut with longer sleeves. So it mostly serves as a trad souvenir hidden in my closet. I may pick up a few more Perlis items down the road...currently have my eyes on their version of a shotgun belt. But I am not from the great state of Louisiana nor have I ever visited their gem city of New Orleans, so I feel it is a slight disgrace to the Crawfish because I have no Cajun accent to back it up. Still, worth visiting if ever in the area.