Wednesday, August 31, 2011
After a long and exhausting day of meeting after meeting, I finally returned home to my lovely bride at about 8:45 this evening. Exhausted and prepared to review emails before retiring, I scanned the mail -- and what to my wandering eyes should appear, but the Bergdorf Goodman Fall magazine! Just what the doctor ordered!
There are several inspired combinations -- but my favorite is the one pictured above. The ensemble includes a white cotton oxford shirt with button-down collar, a red and olive wool tartan tie, and a Moncler Gamme Bleu hunting jacket in olive houndstooth check and burgundy overplaid wool with shearling collar and suede gun patch on the left shoulder. Brilliant!!
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
The Duke of Windsor once said that his fair isle sweater was his favorite item of all his clothes because of its geometric patterns and multitude of colors. My response to that remark is hear hear! I have approximately four fair isle sweaters, but pictured below is my favorite. Without question, the pattern has been established as a lasting tradition! Every single season, one can easily find fair isle sweaters in the collections of Ralph Lauren, Brooks Brothers, and J Press. So, go out and grab one, you will love it!
Photo Credit: Polo Ralph Lauren
Photo Credit: Polo Ralph Lauren
Monday, August 29, 2011
Gossip Girl character Jenny Humphrey sporting a Scottish style hat!
The Duke with a young Queen Elizabeth wearing a Scottish inspired hat!
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
As you may know, Tommy Hilfiger has now attempted for two seasons in a row to return to his original prep glory. And though, I give Mr. Hilfiger an "A" for effort, I still doubt I will buy any of his attire. Yes, I like pieces of his collection, but there is just a tad too much effort being placed here to acheive this prep persona.
Monday, August 22, 2011
Photo: As seen in the new issue of GQ
Like most males, I have always viewed male cheerleaders as feminine. However, there are a host of prominent tough guys such as George W. Bush who were in fact cheerleaders (Yale). Perhaps, male cheerleaders are not the inferior beings we manly men envision, and perhaps they are the more intellingent beings of our gender. I mean come on, they get to hoist young females above their head and stare at the young ladies treasure chest during practice and football games. That alone gives one incentive to cheer, right?
Regardless, above I have pictured a cheerleading squad with style. These Yale boys added that extra touch by wearing a bow tie, and I think the bow looks great with their school crewneck sweaters. Carry on young chaps, carry on!
Sunday, August 21, 2011
About eight months ago, I became increasingly frustrated with the several cleaners with whom I entrusted my shirts for cleaning and pressing. Time and again my shirts returned with buttons destroyed by the pressing process – which is a particular frustration when the buttons are of a nicer quality. I was particularly disheartened when I found that collars of some of my favorite shirts were beginning to fray prematurely. By prematurely, I mean that they were fraying after approximately two years of wear and laundering – that is entirely too soon, in my view!
I am particularly fond of Thomas Mason fabric. Whenever I select fabric for shirts, I am always drawn to the Thomas Mason swatches. Interestingly, when my wife selects fabric for shirts for me, she also steers towards Thomas Mason without my influence. Sadly, two of my shirts crafted of Thomas Mason fabric are among the shirts with the issue of untimely fraying (see the shirts above and immediately below this paragraph).
So, in my frustration, I decided this past winter to begin washing my shirts at home, hanging them up to dry, and ironing them (without starch) when they were still slightly damp – I read in a couple of books that this was the method by which the shirts would last the longest.
This afternoon after church, brunch and reading the Times, I set about the task of washing and ironing a group of my shirts. Thankfully, it was a Sunday afternoon, and I could enjoy the pleasure of listening to Jonathan Schwartz and his selection from the American Songbook on WNYC while I went about this time-consuming task.
I feel as though it is worth it, but is it? It takes a great deal of time. A friend suggested to me that another approach is to have the collars replaced with white collars or with material from the tail of your shirt after the collars fray – he suggested that Maldonado’s from San Antonio, Texas is the best at this aspect of tailoring.
But I don’t think I’m ready to give up on my shirts lasting a bit longer without frayed collars – so I guess the work is worth it – especially if Jonathan Schwartz is still around to make the task a bit less tedious!
As you may remember, I did a post last year about my purchase of the entire Flashman series. Today, I finally had the time to give the first novel a thorough reading, and all I can say is, what a guy! This caddy man may win the award for randiest character on the planet! His escapades range from sleeping with his father's mistress, to fixing a duel, and beating a midget in a tug of war contest. I can honestly say, I can't wait to start the next book in the series, Royal Flash.
Friday, August 19, 2011
Like most WASPs, I prefer loafers and slippers to lace-up shoes any day! However, one must still invest in a good pair of lace-ups, and featured above and below are my favorite pair, Ralph Lauren Oxford Bluchers. Sure, I own black and brown cap-toe oxfords, but honestly, I probably wasted my money purchasing them since I never wear them. I find the blucher to be less formal than the cap-toe, but I still find them dressy enought to wear with suits. They also pair well with khakis and gray flannels! So, if you are looking for a good pair of lace-ups, opt for the blucher.
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Several years ago, after a bit of prodding, my father allowed me into his closet to select a few items to add to my wardrobe -- as I walked in his closet, there before me I found a fascinating history of gentlemen’s fashion over the last forty years -- among other things, ties, belts, and lapels that fluctuated significantly in width. I first turned to the ties, the pocket squares, the belts, and the cuff links. I culled through the bevy of options, and walked away with quite a selection – in fact, I wear one of the ties (with birddogs on it) at least once each month and one of the sterling belt buckles has become a standard for me.
A problem arose, however, when I began to consider my father’s odd jackets, dinner jackets, and suits – none of them fit as my father is about six or seven inches taller than I am. Thus, I decided not to spend much time going through that particular section of my father’s closet.
As I was about to turn to his scarves, the suit pictured hereabove caught my eye! I have always loved houndstooth, and I am fond of the tan color of this particular houndstooth. This suit is made of a lovely heavy wool material – perfect for a nippy autumn evening or a cold winter day. I immediately had the vaguest recollection of viewing a photograph of the Duke of Windsor wearing a suit made of a similar houndstooth fabric – however, the houndstooth was gray or black. I then further recalled that the Duke of Windsor was quite fond of altering and wearing clothing from his overbearing but well-dressed father, King George V. In fact, there is a rather recognizable tartan jacket worn by the Duke of Windsor that had once belonged to his father.
So I decided to take home the houndstooth suit, and it has been hanging in my closet ever since -- I am now considering altering it – what are your thoughts? The jacket’s lapels are quite wide; the jacket’s armholes are too low for my liking; the jacket’s pocket flaps are longer than I prefer; and the pant’s belt loops are quite wide (belts must have been very wide when my father purchased this suit). So, should I alter my father’s suit with a view towards wearing it this autumn? Thank you in advance for what I am certain will be thoughtful suggestions
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
We all remember the super preppy movie/book The Talented Mr. Ripley, right?Every time I watch this movie, it reminds me that we all have a little Tom Ripley in us. I mean come on, we all would have whacked Freddie if for nothing else than his limp wristed mannerisms. Plus, you know Dickie had that oar to the face coming to him! Seriously, all jokes aside, I think we all desire to be something we are not! Whether it be Princeton, or one's desire to be a billionaire, we all desire to be someone else from time to time. Many accuse me of pretending on this blog, but this is truly who I am. Sure, I wish I had attended an Ivy. And, I wish I had ten times more money than I have, but don't we all! If nothing else, the opening line of the movie The Talented Mr. Ripley should help us with self reflection. Be who you are, but don't be afraid to dream! Well, that wasn't exactly what Tom said, but that is what he meant!
Despite what my sister may say, it is my considered view that one should only have so many monogrammed sterling frames about the house. So, after adorning your sterling frames with photographs of your great grandparents and grandparents, there are really only two options that remain for the pictures de ta vie – leather frames and tartan frames. (In a future post, I will opine on the best and worst of leather frames.)
Tartan frames are a handsome way to display photos of your nieces and nephews, your parents, your eccentric great aunt, and that certain special someone. I gathered together several tartan frames from around my home for your appreciation. I am particularly fond of the silk Stewart Tartan frame – it includes a meaningful photograph of my mother, my father, and me.
In addition to adding a tartan frame here and there around your home, I also find that leather boxes make a nice addition to any room – I place them throughout my home – perhaps one by itself on a bookshelf with a small painting sitting atop it or three in a small grouping on a table in the living room. I keep spare keys in a leather box by the front door, coins in one in the master bedroom, and matches in one by the fireplace.
I’ve accumulated quite a few over time – my favorites are those with the Florentine gilding - hand made in Florence, certamente. My most recent addition is the mustard colored hexagonal box displayed in the photograph above – I found this little gem tucked into the bottom of my stocking this past Christmas – I had admired it while walking around home furnishings at Bergdorf after lunching at BG one day last autumn. I must admit to being pleased that Santa took notice!
Sunday, August 14, 2011
Some are born and breed to be WASPs, and some grow into it as they age. As for me, my father went to Yale, and I grew up on a gentleman's farm in the countryside. I was influenced by WASP style from birth, but I didn't grow to appreciate it till I was in my early twenties. Sure, attending public school to play on a better basketball team was a large part of the setback, but it did teach me to deal with people outside my caste.
Regardless, anyone can move toward a WASPy lifestyle if they so choose, and included in this post is a guide from an extinct magazine called Vitals . The starter kit of clothes is one of the easier things to acquire, but the nose in the air attitude can take years to perfect.
Saturday, August 13, 2011
Summers are so much better due to the genius of Sidney Winston. Who, might you say, was Sidney Winston? Mr. Winston founded the venerable clothier Chipp in 1947. In its day, Chipp was, to be sure, among the pantheon of great American clothiers that included J. Press, Brooks Brothers, and Paul Stuart. Among his many innovations were two that have made a delightful impact on every prep’s wardrobe (particularly the summer wardrobe).
First, Mr. Winston designed the archetypal pair of trousers with an embroidered motif. Who among us doesn’t (or shouldn’t) have several pairs of such trousers. It seems to me that the embroidered motif is particularly appealing when found on shorts. I have several pair with various motifs including dogs, yacht club flags, sailboats, anchors, and whales.
Second, Mr. Winston designed the inaugural pair of trousers made of patchwork madras. In fact, I wore a pair of patchwork madras trousers with a Navy blazer to a charity event this evening. I feel that patchwork madras shorts work particularly well in the summer – I have a few pair.
I am confident that you will agree with me that, due to these two innovations alone, Mr. Sidney Winston and Chipp should rightly be held in a special place of reverence by every prep.
Of note, Mr. Winston’s son, Mr. Paul Winston, continues his father’s proud tradition as one of the leading tailors in New York. I have had the pleasure of visiting Mr. Paul Winston on several occasions, and I am happy to inform you that he still has a few ties from his father’s shop – I picked up one with pumpkins that I now wear at Halloween. Unfortunately, Mr. Paul Winston no longer has any embroidered fabric or patchwork fabric – if he did, I would have requested that he stitch me a pair of shorts or trousers! He regales his clients with extraordinary stories of days gone by – be sure to ask him about the delivery by the American Ambassador to France!
Friday, August 12, 2011
Recently, I purchased a beautiful pair of Ralph Lauren Saddle Oxfords, and the lovely shoes arrived this week. Without question, these may be the most beautiful saddle oxfords I have laid my eyes on, and the largest contributing factor to this beauty is the washed/aged appearance of the suede.
However, regardless of the shoes beauty, there is a more potent question that is to be asked. To tweed, or not to tweed, that is the question? Saddle oxfords in tan and ivory, etc. can only be purchased during the warm weather months. But, have you ever done any research in the annals of the Ivy League history? Students in the hey day of the Ivy period often adorned their saddle oxfords with tweed and gray flannels. And no, I am not talking about the brown/tan editions, but rather, the ivory/tan or the white/black editions. To take it a step further, I have even seen white bucks worn with tweed on many occasions.
Are there other examples of such displays? Yes! Ralph Lauren, GQ, and the movie School Ties are just a handful of examples that have displayed the saddled luster in the cold weather months. So what do you think? Tweed, or not to tweed, that is the question?
Thursday, August 11, 2011
I’m certain you’ve noticed the trend as I have – a move away from brass in home décor in favor of satin nickel, aged bronze, satin chrome, and venetian bronze. Quelle horrible!
A proper home should be adorned with timeless, hand cast brass – anything else simply won’t do.
It seems to me that the retreat from brass rightfully coincided with the deterioration in the quality of brass – in order for brass to look good, it must be hand cast and hand finished.
My strong preference is for the brass that was once crafted by the now defunct Virginia Metalcrafters. Having been founded in 1890, Virginia Metalcrafters manufactured for Monticello, Mount Vernon, The Smithsonian, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Every room in my home has at least one piece of Virginia Metalcrafters – I would have it no other way.
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Sweltering summer weekends are meant for reading the Times while tucked beneath an umbrella near the shore, a Pimm’s pitcher or two in the early afternoon, and needed preparation for what is certain to be an autumn of revelry and good cheer. No, I did not devote this past weekend to shining my great Uncle Hugh’s silver-plated, monogrammed cocktail shaker that he left me (along with his well-worn copy of Robert’s Rules of Order which actually does come in handy to move things along while serving on committees for various charities) readying myself for tailgating through yet another season of intercollegiate football mediocrity.
I did, however, pull out the Barbour jackets and the oilskin dressing in order to reproof them before the evenings turn crisp enough to don the Barbours for a stroll full of memories along the stone walls of alma mater.
There actually is rhyme and reason to the annual ritual of reproofing your Barbour on a blistery summer day – the wax must be warm to best adhere to the oilskin material of your jacket.
So, I began the reproofing process by turning to WNYC to listen to my favorite radio show – Jonathan Schwartz – and his well-considered selections from the American songbook. Then, to make my wife happy, I grabbed an old T-shirt from one of the sorority formals I attended in days of yore (she’s trying to get rid of all of them!), and I laid the jacket out on the kitchen counter. I used the T-shirt to apply the wax evenly over the oilskin portion of the jacket – this actually takes much longer than you’d think (assume you'll have time to polish off two Pimm’s cups for good measure).
The stifling heat du soleil de l’été works its magic by melding together the wax and the oilskin to reproof the jacket providing you ease of mind that you’ll stay dry while beagling on a rainy October Saturday morn. So I take the jackets and hang them out in the sun for a good long while. A good long while indeed.
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
I spent most of the today working from my home office, and I closed out a couple monetary deals. However, the most exciting thing about today was the agreement of my dear fried Crawford to join WASP 101. Crawford is a gentleman that my wife and I met while at a party at the University Club in New York. He should be making his posting debut Thursday!
Outfit for today:
J Press Belt
Vintage Cole Haan Saddle Oxfords
Credit: J Press (I saw this photo hanging on the wall of the J Press store in Washington D.C. I procured it from a gent's blog named Manligheter)
When one thinks of the phrase "Ivy League", the thought of the traditional Ivy League store cannot be far behind. And, when one thinks of the traditional Ivy League store, one must think of the halls of J Press.
Sadly, the Ivy League store that we all lust for is nothing more than a fading memory. Even though the mighty J Press still maintains a stuffy persona, it doesn't cater to Ivy League students anymore. Truthfully, the Ivy League we talk about has not existed for many years. Ivy League schools have been overrun by foreigners and the sweat pant wearing crowd. I dare say that any of the Ivy League schools are the least bit preppy with only Princeton being the exception.
Yes, if only students wore jackets and ties to class, and if only the world which we try to create via the Internet really existed.
Thursday, August 4, 2011
Photo Credit: Ralph Lauren
As I trotted amongst the masses today in smoldering hot weather, I continued my lust for the crisp cool days of fall. Images like the one above only add to my lust. What could possibly be more WASPy than a club tie and tweed jacket on a brisk fall day.
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
Today, I am starting a temporary series called Belts and Bows! I will randomly display some of my belts and bows that I have acquired over the years. Today, I am displaying a J Crew plaque belt and a tweed bow tie from Rugby Ralph Lauren.
The plaque belt has limitless possibilities which include wear with suits to khakis, or even jeans. The tweed bow looks great with other tweed attire, and also has a array of possibilities. Below, I have displayed the bow with a oxford cloth button down and tweed windowpane trousers.