October 29, 2011

When in Charleston: A Stop At Ben Silver

If Charleston is the Holy City, then the Ben Silver shop is the Holy of Holies. My family and I just returned from our annual pilgrimage to my favorite southern city and although I've stopped at the legendary King Street establishment before, seeing the store set for Fall/Winter was a completely new experience for me. Somehow, I didn't get shots of the stacks of authentic Shetland sweaters and wool town coats but suffice it to say, this place is so much more impressive than you can imagine from their website. When a gentleman finds himself in Charleston, he should consider this stop a must.
 Panel caps were everywhere as were collegiate and regimental scarves.
 Mostly Alden with some Crockett & Jones for good measure.
 More regimental and emblematic ties than I could keep up with. This London Wasps is a favorite.

 Their blazers are the best-fitting I've ever tried.

Blazer badges (and some barely visible buttons.)

August 22, 2011

Cinch Back Trousers From J. Press

I ran across these over the the weekend when I finally had a chance to check out the latest update from J. Press. (Highlights forthcoming.) Fantastic.

August 7, 2011

Indian Madras

This has been the kind of summer that makes me appreciate lightweight fabric on short-sleeved shirts. It also makes me appreciate the fact that I have slowly been adding to my collection of old and new Indian Madras button-downs. (Don't forget, although we most often associate the word with the particular variety of plaids we see on these shirts, Madras refers first and foremost to a cotton fabric woven in India.)
From top: Ralph Lauren, Brooks Brothers, Gant, Gant, J. Press

My sons got a head start on the Madras this year (and the patch variety to boot.) The picture below is from Easter. My wife made each of them pants from men's shirts. Eat your heart out, Crewcuts.

How To Survive Summer (Without Really Trying)

Birdies for the pool/lake/ocean.
Deck shorts with an added touch. (Don't fear the elastic.)
Baggies. Still a classic.

August 3, 2011

Mighty White

I picked up a pair of Spring Court sneakers on sale (around $14) at my local J. Crew a month or so back as a replacement for some Van's that are starting to look rough. The stark white is a little much for me but now that I have worn them a few times I'm starting to get used it.

July 31, 2011

Alden Snuff Suede "West Egg"

I originally purchased these from Epaulet as "Spring" shoes but I see absolutely nothing wrong with wearing them all year round. (As a devotee of American Lit., I was completely taken by the model name.)

June 8, 2011

J. Press Emblematic: Four Province Shield

Not very springy/summery/seersuckery/madrasy but I saw this on HTJ and realized how vacant and incomplete my neck is without the navy one. Father's Day, anyone? On sale now.

Enjoy with: Electric Light by Seamus Heaney, Dubliners by James Joyce, Anything by Yeats, a Peterson full of Rattray's Red Rapparee, (granted, that's from Scotland -- I realize there's a difference...) and a glass of Crested 10 Jameson (all of which I have at my immediate disposal.)

Extra credit reading: Ireland's Four Provinces

June 7, 2011


Authentic UK military regimental from Orvis. (In case you want to keep up with RCS.)

Other great choices: Smart Turnout, Central Watch

June 6, 2011

Holding Court (In Style)

One more tennis related post and I'm done (for now.)

The classic and my favorite racquet of all time. (I used the 85 6.0 for a while in college.)

Apparel: Boast, Lacoste, Fred Perry, Wigwam, Adidas Rod Laver, Adidas Stan Smith

I'm curious, does anyone have a favorite after tennis drink?


June 5, 2011

The French Open, Renè Lacoste, and Roland Garros

Congratulations to Nadal on the win today. That was a well-played final. Besides all the great tennis action, one of the things I like about the rich tradition of Roland Garros is the ubiquitous Lacoste logo. I'm not sure why but I've always enjoyed the crocodile. (And I prefer it over the oversized RL polo players at the U.S. Open.)

The man himself with the original crocodile.

May 15, 2011

Merrimack Conoe Co.

The onset of summer here in the South (though this weekend felt more like spring) has got me jonesing for some time on the water. I like what I've read about Merrimack but I can't pretend not to realize the horrible timing for this subject manner, given what our friends in Louisiana are dealing with right now.

April 27, 2011

Springtime In The Southland: We Do Love A Wedding

It's that time of year down here when folks like to get hitched in the out-of-doors and especially in historic locales. Saturday we were happy to make the trip just outside of Franklin to Carnton Plantaton to attend the wedding of our thoughtful and creative friends Tim and Sarah.
Classic Antebellum architecture

The backdrop for the ceremony was an ancient Osage-Orange tree.

A door on one of several outbuildings on the property.

 The battle of Franklin (fought within view of the mansion) was a devastating loss for the Confederacy and set the stage for the Battle of Nashville which would put the Army of Tennessee out of commission for the rest of the war. Wounded Confederate soldiers were carried to Carnton, which had been converted into a field hospital. Nearly 1500 Southern soldiers who died in the battle are buried here.

 Slave quarters.

This was what I would call a "navy blazer affair" (though I did see a few fellows in seersucker, pushing the season in my opinion, even on the eve before Easter.) I went with a basic white OCBD, some lightweight glen plaid trousers, a madras bowtie, and suede Aldens.  All proved perfect for enjoying a sweet ceremony followed by Memphis-style brisket under a tent. Moments like these, holy unions confirmed and celebrated in the shadows of our rich (albeit painful) history are some of the reasons I love living in the South. All in all, a lovely evening was had.

April 3, 2011

The Blues

I admit that my enthusiasm for the oxford button-down could be described as borderline fanaticism at times.  (I can be seen wearing a blue one under a blue blazer in my high school senior yearbook photo and even now I wear one just about every day of the week.)  In my opinion, there are few things that say as much about masculine American style better than this traditional shirt. But while the basic design has hardly changed in the century-plus since John Brooks first found inspiration in English polo players (who were acting more out of functional need than fashionable know-how in their attempt to keep their collars from flapping while riding) the details are where variety can be found today in this stalwart of style.

I boil the main differences down to three basic items: Collar, Color, and Cut.

Collar - Probably the primary source of variety among shirt makers, the collar can also be the most crucial in accomplishing "the look" you are after. The more you compare the more you'll notice that the length, point, softness, and roll of a collar are often details unique to its maker.

Color - As you can see from the pictures below, color can vary slightly even within a unique hue. Of the four blue shirts I compared, not one is the same as another in its degree of colorfulness. Granted, this can change over time and exposure but not to the degree that these differ.

Cut - By this I simply refer to the patterned shape of the shirt as it relates to fit. Slim, full, traditional, athletic, baggy, and regular are all common adjectives when referring to cut.

Four distinct shade of blue from four different makers.

Classic LL Bean (not the disgusting non-iron variety). This shirt is baggy and soft and the lightest blue of the bunch.

Brooks Brothers traditional. A full cut with a perfect roll over a tie. This is the classic blue.

Close-up reveals improvement with age...fraying.

J. Press flap pocket. A slimmer fit than the Brooks but by no means too slim. Probably my favorite cut. Collar could stand to be softer and does not roll over tie like the Brooks. Most similar to the Brooks in color.

Ralph Lauren Yarmouth. Nice baggy fit without as much extra material as the Brooks. Collar is on the small side but still dresses up. The "greyest" blue of the bunch.

The most often worn of the above shirts is the Brooks with the J. Press coming in at a close second. All of these shirts are sized as dress shirts, which obviously helps in the fit area compared to some other brands that might otherwise be worth comparing. I've heard great things about the Hyde Park oxford from Lands End but I've never tried them. I do, however, have my sights set on a couple of Mercer & Sons OCBDs this year so I'm anxious to see where they fall in the mix. If you have a brand that you think is worth highlighting, please weigh in with a comment.