Monday, March 21, 2011

The Duffle Coat: Unrefined Style

Like many garments found in our closets, the duffle coat has its roots firmly set in the military.

Originally introduced in the Royal Navy, the duffle coat is a loose, rugged coat that was originally designed with utility in mind but can add a casual dash of character to an outfit.

A duffle coat is identified by the heavy weight wool it is made of along with its hood, double patch pockets, medium length skirt and, most notably, toggles made of either horn or wood. The coat may or may not have a hidden zipper though traditionally the zipper is lacking.

click images to enlarge

The duffle coat is usually found in traditional colors like camel, dove gray and navy though they can have many other colors and patterns to them, as my Tommy Hilfiger duffle coat below demonstrates.

Wear a duffle coat casually with either your everyday clothes or a sport coat and tie. It is a garment that was orginally meant to keep the wearer dry and warm on the decks of ships and submarines during war and as such should be paired with other hardy pieces. Wool, flannel, corduroy, denim and knits work well with the duffle coat.

WW1 RN submarine officer

A duffle coat will serve you well as these last cold days of winter fade away into Spring.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

WIW: Houndstooth and Pastel

A peacock is bright and memorable. But we remember the peacock for his feathers and nothing else. We don't think of his legs, beak or head as the source of his beauty, only his feathers.

The peacock can teach us a valuable lesson: one of restraint. The peacock has one feature that stands above the rest: his feathers. The same should apply to the stylish man.

If a man is to wear an outfit with a single garment that is wild and perhaps gaudy, he should show restraint with the rest of the outfit. One crazy garment will draw the eye while two or more crazy garments will poke it out. Pairing together too many gaudy articles of clothing and creating too many focus points will give the wearer an appearance of trying too hard. Keep it simple and you will go far.

For example, today I wore a rather crazy 1940s lounge jacket. No doubt I could have paired it with trousers that are just as wild and looked like a clown as a result.

However, I used pastel colors and toned down garments to counterbalance the crazy monochrome jacket while adding some color.

click images to enlarge

Note that the jacket has a fairly large houndstooth fabric pattern. Not only that, it is in black and white.

The simple pastel colors found in the hat, shirt and socks help counteract that wild pattern and monochrome color scheme, turning the sensational into something more pleasing to the eye.

Throw in a pair of vintage Florsheim shoes and you get a very nice casual outfit.

Like the peacock, show some restraint when putting an outfit together.

Friday, March 4, 2011

John Lobb: Handmade Shoes

Want to take a look at how bespoke shoes are made the old way? Watch the video at the following link.

John Lobb custom shoes

You rarely find that kind of quality nowadays though it was commonplace 70 years ago.


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