Monday, August 31, 2009


Finally broke the Macy's linen jacket out of the closet after waiting for 2 weeks. The weather has been fairly cool here but warm enough for a linen jacket with linen trousers.

I think this is a fairly good late 1930s to mid-1940s summer look.

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As wrinkled as your little ol' grandma!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Last Gasp of Summer

And what a nice one it has been weather-wise. Cool, dry, relatively sunny. At least in my area.

As summer slowly draws to a close the warm weather inventory rapidly goes on sale at every clothing store across the country in an attempt to make room for the incoming winter wear. It's a good time for us cheapskates.

Enter Macy's. Like any good business, they're trying to get rid of their old items. Items like this sports coat fromTasso Elba. Oddly enough, while I purchased mine online for $38 a week or two ago the same jacket is now $50 (originally $195, so still a good deal).

So, why this sports coat? Because of its vintage-inspired style.
It's 100% linen and is therefore guaranteed to wrinkle like any good summer piece should. And not just wrinkle in a chaotic manner but rather in a way that tells the wearer and observer alike that the jacket has been lovingly lived in, so it has the character of a well-trusted old dog: it's concrete, classic, comforting.

click photos to enlarge
The patch pockets are a classic summery touch to any jacket. You'll note that my jacket is different from the one found at the link I provided above in that my lacks pocket flaps. I assure you it did have them at one time, at least until I removed them. I thought the flaps gave it more of a '70s feel than a '30s one. Now the gusseted patch pockets can be fully seen in all of their glory.

But it is not the front of the jacket that is special. Plenty of other humdrum jackets look like this one from the front. It is the back that is special, catches the eye. Not even the wonderful lapel roll can match the back of the jacket.
Yes, that's a belted back with a center gusset. In a modern jacket. Mind you, it's not perfect. The armholes are, as expected, incredibly low and the belt is about 1/2" too low (no big deal, though). Not perfect indeed, but much further from hopeless than it is from perfect. Actually, this is about as close to a real vintage belted back, center gusseted, patch pocketed linen sports coat that most of us can get at that price. Unless you're a leprican carrying a rabbit's foot while chewing on a four-leaf-clover, but I digress...
Probably the best part about this jacket is the center gusset itself. At rest with arms down at your side the gusset is flat and closed as shown in the photo above. But raise your arms and a whole new world reveals itself as the gusset opens up, allowing for a greater range of movement:
The center gusset along with the belted back, bi-swing back, pleated back, knife back, etc. were all fairly common features found on suit jackets and sports coats of the mid- to late 1930s.
There are three colors to choose from though the 'natural' color is the most vintage for a summer sports coat. Great texture and subtle color variations in the linen, too.

Hopefully if you order one of these jackets there'll be enough warm weather for you to wear it as summer takes its last gasp.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Esquire BDRM Finalists- Soaring Eagles or Black Sheep?

Here are the 5 finalists for Esquire's Best Dressed Real Man contest. Sorry to say I didn't make the final cut but there's always next year.

Still, it's a good feeling to know I'm one of the 25 best dressed real men in America, at least according to Esquire. Especially since most of my wardrobe comes from thrift shops.

So, what are your thoughts on these finalists? Are they anything to write home about or has Esquire gone down the tubes? Which of the finalists do you put your money on?

It's interesting to note that all of the finalists are very young, the oldest being 33 years of age. Each year in the past an older gentleman or two have been in the running. Does this mean recent definitions of stylish and fashionable include only the youthful or were there just no stylish older men this year?

Monday, August 17, 2009

WIW: Rayon and Gabardine

What a great combination. The modern rayon shirt feels soft and gently hangs from the body while the vintage gabardine suit looks casual and drapes wonderfully.

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Just have to love the very high Hollywood waisted trousers that drape so well.

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Bad and the Ugly

Let's not fool ourselves: while the Golden Era was just that for men's clothing, things were not perfect. Not everything was elegant, quality made or well thought out.

Let's examine some of those less than perfect looks.

1. The Fish Net Shirt
From Esquire we see the "fish net shirt" on the right (while I don't mind the striped sports coat on the left, the matching 'muffler' is just too much and the two would only be worn in combination together by someone willing to be seen with someone wearing a fish net shirt).

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Quite frankly, don't do the fish net and don't be seen with anyone wearing one. Avoid anything fish net, especially if it is a shirt. Of note is the commentary stating that in some areas "shirtless bathing is still prohibited". How things have changed.

2. The White Dress Jacket
While I actually like the look of the mess jacket and it was a rather popular style for a short time in the mid-1930s, it was eventually put aside by most well dressed folks in favor of the traditional dinner jacket and tails.
If you tried to pull the mess jacket off today you'd either be mistaken for a waiter or a member of the military (which, surprisingly, has kept the mess jacket for formal wear).
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Too bad Jeeves disapproves of it (starting at the 27 second mark). I think it quite snappy and athletic looking, enhancing the length of the wearer's legs and making him appear taller.

3. Oxford Bags
click photo to enlarge
While the original Oxford Bags (example shown above) were not horrendously bad (originating at Oxford in the 1920s, hence the name, these wide-legged trousers were worn over plus-fours and similar sport trousers after such 'immature' garments were banned by the school for in-class wear), the later mainstream and more extreme cousin of the Oxford Bags did reach a high level of insanity.
While the original Oxford Bags measured no more than 48" in circumference at the cuff, the extreme Bags measured much more, upwards of 56" or more in circumference. Below are examples of such extreme Bags.
click photos to enlarge
The French were the most radical in their use of Oxford Bags. Below is one such example of a French dandy sporting extreme Oxford Bags.
Oxford Bags were popular with the youth and some musicians during the mid- to late 1920s and even into the 1930s before (thankfully) dying out.

These are just a few stinkers of the Golden Era; we'll look at some more at another time.

Monday, August 3, 2009


What Sheb Wore.

Yesterday our new kitten Sheb Wooley took my sartorial advice and tried a sporty red theme.

His real straw Panama hat and plaid vest (stylishly left unbuttoned) date from the 1960s and show off his healthy physique. How can the ladies resist such a fine specimen of a cat?

The bright yet modest red of his outfit compliments the color of his fur and the feathers tucked into the pugree of his Panama hat add a dapper new dimension to an already sporty look. Of note is the bow of his purgee which is on the right side of the hat. Normally the bow is worn on the left side for males: this new fad was started primarily by Mr. Wooley and shows his ability to tastefully break from certain rules in pursuit of his own personal style.

Sheb is a model for all manly yet elegant cats and his level of sophistication of dress should be striven for by all on the male side of the feline species.



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