Chino Blazer Roundup

If you've been keeping up, I recently did a profile on L.L. Bean Signature and Land's End Canvas.  The first match-up I covered was the chino blazer that both offered.  Scroll down to the previous post or click here to read it.  As I became more interested in the idea of a khaki blazer for spring (now a definite must in my eyes), I began to explore other options as well.  This is what I came up with.  I tried to keep it within the realm of financial possibility for the average gentleman.  All the reasonably stylish and available options I came across fell within the 140-250 dollar range (although the Land's End Canvas jacket was only $70 and the L.L. Bean offering was $135).

This simple three-button jacket from Martin+Osa could be just what you need for this spring and summer.  It features a slimmer modern cut, two working button holes on the cuffs, a half-lining patterned in what appears to be a white/green/red/black tartan.  The shell is 100% twill cotton and the lining is 100% cotton poplin.   This jacket has the fairly requisite front flap pockets, welted slash front breast pocket, and single back vent.  Not a bad pick for $140, especially when M+O is currently closing a bunch of stores and having sales nearly every other day.  Get into your local store to try one on if you can before they're gone.  I'd also bet you a beer that this is Paul's (of Components of Enthusiasm [on hiatus for now]) jam for sure.

Ralph Lauren Rugby
This slightly more keyed-up 3 roll 2 jacket from Rugby may be more up your alley.  It is fitted with what Rugby calls its "vintage style shorter and skinnier Newbury silhouette", featuring four working buttons on its cuff.  If you unbutton these buttons, you unveil one of the edgy details of this jacket: the lettering "Rugby A Game of Gentlemen" inside the cuff.  The other Rugby choice detail is the skull and bones logo on the underside of the collar.  Patch pockets all around and you've got yourself a solid chino option for this spring.  It's something I imagine young Angelo of Class Act sporting from time to time in the coming months.

Ralph Lauren Polo
Hey, this looks suspiciously similar to the last jacket!  Well, it's made by the same parent company, Ralph Lauren, and on the surface it appears to be just a more mature version of the previously badass jacket profiled above.  In fact, it has most of the same features, including the four working cuff buttons.  Look a bit closer though and you'll see that this coat has genuine mother of pearl buttons, no flaps on the pockets, or any of the "edgy" details, as with the Rugby.  However, in a perfectly understated way, the detail that makes this particular jacket stand out is the strawberry red undercollar.  All signs point to L.A.S. of Sartorially Inclined most likely to rock this armor.

J. Crew
While this jacket is definitely on the higher end, considering the quality it seems a good bet for under 250 dollars.  This two-button jacket is woven from cotton twill from the Crespi Mill in Italy.  The Ludlow cut is the most modern silhouette J. Crew offers, featuring a narrow lapel and a shorter cut.  Standard flap front pockets and flap front pockets but this joint is fully lined with what looks like *gasp* silk.  It has felt under the collar and non-functioning button holes on the cuffs (way to suck all the fun out of it, J. Crew). But seriously, although it is sold as a  separate, this is more of a *real* suit jacket than the others.  The matching pant is sold on the same page.  If Will from Momentum of Failure doesn't already have this on his back, it's probably in a UPS truck headed for Denver.

Outro: As for this roundup, along with the L.L. Bean Signature and Land's End Canvas options outlined previously, these are probably your best bets for chino blazers for this spring and summer.   Something of note concerning sizing: the Polo and J. Crew jackets are available in traditional suit jacket sizes (ie. 42R) whereas the lower-end pieces are a little more unpredictable with label-specific sizes (S, M, L, XL).  Cheers.

My apologies to any high-profile bloggers whose sensibilities may have been offended by this post; I'm just having fun.


Premium Heritage Showdown: Land's End Canvas vs. L.L. Bean Signature

The closing months of this winter marked the release of two heritage lines from the well known American catalog brands, Land's End and L.L. Bean; Canvas and Signature respectively.  Both brands are known for being a bit anti-fit, but both of these collections are perfect for bigger guys; they are apparently a bit more trim and tailored than any of their previous offerings, whilst retaining the legacy of a more relaxed fit.

There are actually some pieces in each collection that are nearly identical.  I'm going show each and list some distinguishing characteristics of some of these spring staples.  I'll also touch on some of the highlights of each collection.  All product shots will be presented with LL Bean on the left and Land's End on the right (until Blogger allows me to easily add captions to photos).  This choice was completely arbitrary.

Fits you'll have to ascertain for yourself but it is not going to be easy to try these or any of the pieces on in-store.  You'll likely have more luck with the Land's end clothing, as the line is carried in some Sears department stores.  Check for yourself here.  As far as the L.L. Bean Signature line, L.L. Bean public relations has confirmed that it will only be in-store at the Tyson's Corner, VA location.  Otherwise, you'll have to roll the dice and buy online.  But if you have to return something, no sweat.  L.L. Bean has a fantastic return policy and your satisfaction is guaranteed (you have their word).
First up is the khaki jacket.  Look at that, the model is even standing in the exact same position and the coats are positioned in almost the same way!  L.L. Bean's New Traditional Blazer and Land's End's Chino Blazer are clearly poised against each other.

  • Half-lining
  • Single back vent
  • Working sleeve button holes
  • Buttons: the Bean version has two whereas the Land's version is a 3 roll 2.
  • Pockets: the Bean version has flaps.
  • Color: the khaki on the Bean version is darker (its listed color is "Moss Khaki") than that of the Land's.
  • Fit (?) of the LL Bean version appears a bit trimmer and possibly longer but that could be the fact that the pictures are cropped a bit differently.
  • Cost: the Bean jacket lists at $135.00 whereas the Land's End jacket is only $69.50.
Next up is the chambray workshirt.  You have to have a chambray workshirt in your collection, it's what all the kids are wearing!  L.L Bean's Chambray Workshirt and Land's End's Heritage Chambray Workshirt look pretty similar.  Let's break it down.

  • Chambray (duh)
  • Pin point collar
  • Buttons on the pockets
  • Pockets: flaps on the Bean
  • Buttons: large dark buttons on the Bean, smaller white buttons on the Land's
  • Color: The Land's version appears to be more green and the Bean version is washed indigo.
  • Price: L.L. Bean shirt is $69.00 and the Land's End shirt is $39.50 
Gingham Button-down Shirt
As far as spring patterns go, gingham is about as standard as it gets.  I've chosen to show only the navy versions of each shirt because the color was common in both lines.  The Bean version is known as the Washed Oxford Cloth Gingham Shirt and the Land's version is known as the Heritage Poplin Shirt.

  • Button-down collar
  • Single breast pocket
  • Color choices:
  • L.L. Bean

  • Land's End
  • Price: The L.L. Bean shirt is $49.00 and the Land's End shirt is $34.50.
Relaxed Chino
A solid pair of chinos is an excellent anchor to a smart-looking casual spring wardrobe.  Roll them up, turn them up, leave them alone; whatever floats your boat.  Both brands have some good offerings.  Here we'll look at the L.L. Bean's Sportsman's Chino Pant compared to Land's End's Heritage Chino.

  • 100% cotton
  • Side-seam front pockets
  • Rear welt pockets
  • Flat front
  • Watch/coin pocket
  • Fit: The L.L. Bean chino has a relaxed fit and is fuller through the leg and the Land's End chino is a straight fit.
  • Fly: The L.L. Bean version has a button fly.  I must assume that the Land's End version is a zipper fly (If someone owns these pants, I would appreciate any confirmation of this).
  • Price: The L.L. Bean chinos are $59.00 and the Land's End chinos are $39.50.
I predict, considering their more generous fits, that either of these pants would be a good go for a fellow tree-trunk-legged gentleman.

Trench Coat
A cotton trench is one of those classically under-rated spring outer garments.  Nobody's going to notice or care that you don't have one, but people will definitely will notice you if you're wearing one.  Both L.L. Bean and Land's End have coats to fill this void in your wardrobe; L.L. Bean with it's Trench and Land's End with it's Heritage Cotton Coat.

  • 100% cotton
  • Water-repellent
  • Button-tab cuffs
  • Back vent
  • Side pockets
  • Lining: The Bean trench is half lined with fabric in a  tattersall pattern.  There is no picture of this but I imagine it is a nice detail.  I have to assume that the Land's coat is unlined.
  • Collar closure: The L.L. Bean version has a storm flap and the Land's End does not.
  • Interior pockets: The Land's coat has three interior pockets that close with buttons (see right).  The item description says that they will fit a phone, mp3 player, and passport.  The Bean version must have some plain-jane interior pockets or none at all because there is no mention of them in the product description.
  • Price:  The L.L. Bean trench is $185.00 and the Land's End trench is $79.50.

Shifting gears, I'm now going to highlight some of the best pieces in each collection (in my most humble opinion).
Big Wins for L.L. Bean Signature
 Waxed Canvas Maine Hunting Shoe
You really cannot talk about L.L. Bean Signature without mentioning the Waxed Canvas Maine Hunting Shoe ($129.00).  I really can't get around how great looking these boots are.  The contrast of the canvas on the leather trim, the green/brown laces, it just gets me.  The only reason I, myself do not have a pair is that I just bought a pair of 8 inch leather Bean boots and I'd feel bad if they were neglected.
Corduroy Short
L.L. Bean really hit a home run with this Corduroy Short ($49.00).  Available in navy and taupe, I think it is one of the most novel and interesting pieces in this collection.  They have a nice length and the snap pockets on the front are a nice touch.  I just wonder if they'd fit.

Madras Plaid Short Sleeve Shirt
I might be alone on this but I tend to think short sleeved shirts don't get enough love. If they're done right, they're wonderful in the summer, especially paired with jeans or chinos.  This shirt would pair particularly well with the corduroy shorts, above, in taupe.

The Madras Plaid Short Sleeve Shirt ($55.00) one is done right; it has a button-down collar and the sleeves are actually short enough to look attractive.  Also, take a look at the detail at the end of the sleeve; they added separate little cuff with a different piece of fabric. This is my favorite part of the shirt.

Big Wins for Land's End Canvas
Pocket Square
The pocket square is an underutilized and often forgotten accessory in America.  Pocket squares of the hand-rolled silk variety can many times be prohibitively expensive for the average gentlemen.  Cue Land's End's sueded cotton poplin squares (only $9.50!).  They're available in several attractive gingham and plaid patterns, are 14 by 14 inches, and are the perfect way to add a pop of color to your outfit.
Rugby Shirt
I've never owned a rugby shirt but this one is making me consider it.  I particularly enjoy the lack of embellishment on this rugby (no numbers or logos).  It's got authentic details like rubber buttons, a covered placket, and tennis tails.  This shirt in either navy (pictured) or the lighter, river blue would look killer paired with some nice rigid denim.  While it might not be ideal for wear in sweltering heat, it would be the perfect shirt for cool spring days and nights.

Denim Jacket
This denim jacket ($69.00) is a piece of outerwear that most people slept on upon the release of Land's End Canvas.  With my affinity for anything denim, this jacket really jives with me.  I know it isn't the first denim jacket of it's kind or anything but it appears to be an affordable, solidly constructed garment.  I'd prefer it to have two lower pockets as well but hey, you win some and lose some.  It's got a nice deep indigo color that would go together well with your favorite chinos and a button-down.

And now for my sleeper favorites.  Out of all the blogs I follow, I have seen little mention of these two pieces.
L.L. Bean Signature: Maine Standard Moc
Although the Ranger and Blucher mocs stole all the attention away from it, this is just a beautiful shoe.  The Maine Standard Moc ($119.00) is leather-soled with a full grain leather upper.  Pictured is the Chocolate Brown colorway, which I think is the choice option.  Although the Canyon colorway look great too, for whatever reason, LLB decided to lacquer over the cut edges of the leather sole, making them much darker than that of its brother, Chocolate Brown.  I really like the contrast of the dark brown and the lighter soles.

Land's End Canvas: Scorpion Necktie
Lately, there's be a revival of interest for old school, prep-inspired animal print ties.  I think this one might be the most badass one I've seen.  Scorpion tie ($39.50).  'Nuff said.  Keep an eye out for a bat print tie.  I'd be all over that one too.  Anyway, this tie seems of some pretty exacting quality for a very affordable price.  It is made of 100% silk, hand-sewn, and pleasantly slim at 2.75 inches in width.  A white oxford and navy tie combo will always look great (especially when the tie has frickin' scorpions on it).

Overall, both L.L. Bean Signature and Land's End Canvas each have many great pieces to look at for the coming spring and beyond.  Canvas is far less expensive but may not demonstrate the same quality that the Signature line seems to evoke.  I would love to hear any feedback on the fit and quality any items you've bought from either of these collections.


Old Standbys: Docker's

I'm willing to bet that at least among my American readers that everyone has worn a pair of Docker's at some point in their life.  Docker's are a brand so synonymous with the khaki twill cotton trouser that (in the US) it's name is frequently substituted when referring to such clothing.

When you think Docker's you might think of a schlubby desk jockey in pleated tent pants who obviously has now idea how to dress himself properly.  I challenge you to think again.  Over the recent years, semi-unbeknown to me, Docker's has released several cuts of their iconic trousers (see below graphic).
Maybe we can ignore the D4 for now, as they appear to be mimicking the profile of Hammer Pants.  Even if you have thighs much larger than your head, I guarantee that you'll fit into at least the D3, classic fit.  You probably want to look more toward the D2, however.  The straight fit is my jam.  The leg opening is a bit large but I live with it (remember what Hardy Aimes said about Trousers). I don't want to look like a top.  I tried on a pair of pants with the D1 slim fit this weekend and it would never fly with my TBTYH.  If you're familiar with Levi's, the D2 is to the 501 as the D1 is to the 514.  Regular and small-sized bretheren, the D1 is your best bet.
The key advantage to Docker's is the price.  Most of their line retails around $50.00 (usualy less) per pair.  Most of their online stuff is actually on sale right now.

I already have a pair of standard flat front straight fit Docker's pants right now but what recently caught my eye was their new K1s.

The K1 is a 3-ply 100% cotton trouser inspired by the old military models, featuring a hook and latch closure and button fly (maybe it's because I am a Levi's 501 fiend but I love anything with a button fly).  It is only available in the D2 straight fit.  For $68.00, it's not going to break the bank and will most certainly last quite a while.

I'm thinking of picking up a pair for the spring.  I'll be sure to take some fit pics for ya'll if I do.


This "Pantsformation" page on the Docker's site features a quotation from good old Mr. Mort!
"Khaki is like a fine bottle of brandy.  You can never have enough, and they get even better with age."
 It also features the "I Wear No Pants" Super Bowl ad...if you're into that...


Eyewear On the Cheap

If you are one of those who requires corrective vision and forgoes contact lenses, you know that prescription vision is EXPENSIVE.  A visit to Lenscrafters with a pair of designer frames and prescriptions lenses can easily cost you $300-500.  I predict that if you've ever done the Lenscrafters dance, you have certainly thought to yourself, "This is a scam."  Thankfully, several options have sprung up online that are able to alleviate the economic burden of wearing some nice eyewear.

Preface: Before shopping online for eyeglasses, you'll need to get your prescription in each eye (which you probably already know via your optometrist) and your pupilary distance (which you probably don't know).  Your pupilary distance is, as it might sound, the distance (in millimeters) between the centers of your pupils.  Don't worry, your optometrist can accurately measure your PD or you can approximate it yourself via a mirror and a ruler.  Once you've got these numbers, you're about ready to do some shopping for glasses on the internet.

One of the most recent players to this cheap, independent eyewear game is Warby Parker.
I've only just started to take a look at Warby Parker and I've been extremely impressed. They are definitely the most polished of the online prescription eyewear vendors (also the most expensive).  Admittedly, Warby has some of the more attractive frames on the web.  One of the best parts of the Warby catalog is that you can choose any frame in either black, light or dark tortoiseshell colors.  There are other color schemes but most frames follow that pattern.  Some examples:

These are just a few of my favorites on the men's side.  I forgot to mention that every pair is $95.00 (with prescription) and free shipping to anywhere in the continental US.  Warby Parker also has a fitting program where you can get up to five sets of frames delivered to your home for free to see how they fit.  You just send them back in a prepaid envelope when you're done trying them on: pretty cool stuff.  Oh yeah, they sell a prescription monocle too.

Now I'm not saying you shouldn't consider giving Warby Parker's a try.  You really have nothing to lose anyway.  I'm actually seriously considering giving some of these pairs a whirl with that fantastic trial policy they've got.  At least to me, however, at the rate I loose and break glasses, I usually prefer the lowest cost option.  And trough my extensive research, I have arrived at the conclusion that this option is Zenni Optical.  Your most basic pair of frames with standard prescription lenses cost $8.00.  However, in this case, lowest cost doesn't have to mean low quality.  I have had several pairs, some for years, and they've held up reasonably well.

Alright, analogy time.  Likening your options for eyewear to clothing:
Moscot : Ralph Lauren Purple Label :: Warby Parker : Ralph Lauren Polo :: Zenni : Thrift store

 I liken Zenni to a thrift store because you can find really cool stuff there for extremely cheap but you need to root through a lot of garbage first.  Zenni has many many frames and most are pretty insane (wacky patterns,  colors, and unconventional frame shapes).  Most are not for me but hey, if you find something quirky that works for you, excellent.  The website is also pretty terribly designed but that's part of the fun!

On to the frames!


The prices listed are are for the base model, which includes only a standard mid-index lens include (I can't find it after their recent site redesign but I seem to remember that all the standard lenses had UV protection).  You can get pretty crazy with the add-ons at Zenni Optical:  Bifocals, Progressive bifocals, anti-reflective coating, different indexes (thinner lenses), even Transitions lenses if you're into that.

I think the best add on is tinting the lenses.  For an extra $4.95, you can tint your lenses in three degrees (10%, 50%, and 80%) and seven colors (gray, green, amber, blue, purple, pink and yellow).  This option effectively transforms any glasses into sunglasses.

Sunglasses example:
***EDIT-EDIT: This model in black has sold out is back in stock! They're also available in brown and a zainy brown/clear tortoise shell pattern in a smaller and larger frame size. Also, there is another model that is similar and still available in black as well as brown/clear:
Slap the $4.95 80% gray or green tinting on these mothers and boom, instant Wayfarer copy for the cost of a case of beer. You can't beat that with a stick.

As with most online shopping, you're going to have to carefully examine the sizing information (all frames have listed dimensions in millimeters for overall frame width, lens height and width, bridge width, and arm length) and make a best guess as to what will fit your face based upon your pupillary distance.  A good practice I've found is to measure a pair of glasses you already have and compare the measurements to ones listed on the Zenni site.

In closing, as always the choice is yours. As far as service goes, Warby has the advantage with fitting policy but Zenni has the advantage for choice (in terms of number of frames).  Warby Parker has some excellent offerings for a fraction of what you would pay for designer frames with lenses and Zenni has some real bargain basement eyewear that you probably wouldn't look half-bad in either.  At least with this knowledge you won't be forced into a Lenscrafters paying $500 out the door.


Profile: Sir Hardy Amies, Sartorial Legend

A man should look as if he had bought his clothes with intelligence, put them on with care, and then forgotten all about them.
I stumbled upon this quotation today again and it got me thinking about Hardy Amies, the source.
Sir Edwin Hardy Amies was a British men's and women's wear designer, probably most famously the official dressmaker for Queen Elizabeth II.  In his early adulthood, he lived in both France and Germany, learning the languages of both countries.  Because of his language skills, he served Britain in the Second World War as a part of the Special Operations Executive, which was a secret group of unconventional warriors which specialized in espionage behind enemy lines.
After the war, in 1946, Amies opened a boutique on Savile Row, offering clothes for both men and women (unusual at the time, as Savile Row was nearly a center exclusively for bespoke men's suiting and shirting).  He wrote a regular column in Esquire for quite some time and also wrote several books pertaining to Men's style.  One of which was ABC of Men's Fashion.  It is written in the style of a dictionary, from A to Z, defining elements of the male "costume" as Sir Amies would describe it.  The above quotation is the first text disclosed.  Although the author is essentially writing a series of definitions, his own opinion about the defined is often and liberally applied.   Literally every kind of clothing, color, type of fabric, accessory, pattern you can imagine are described. Since the book was originally published in 1965, some of the prevailing opinions have changed regarding certain men's dress. However, you would not look at all ridiculous even today if you followed this book to the letter.  To the contrary, the styles that he describes in the book very frequently mirror those that are popular today (fitted trousers and jackets, narrow ties, boots, etc.).  Amies's predictions for the future of menswear are interesting in that they don't predict the cycle that we've observed to be true, rather, he envisions a progression or evolution toward a horizon point.

I received this book as a gift a few years back and I think reading it made me want to dress better and define my personal style.  It is an entertaining, quick read and I highly recommend getting yourself a copy.  Amies's writing is witty and funny.  He is hilariously disdainful of American and cautiously respectful of Italian sensibilities when it comes to dressing oneself; obviously preferring the customs of his own country to that of any other.  You wouldn't expect it from this type of book but there are several laugh-out-loud funny moments.  Below, I will share some of my favorite excerpts, some funny, some otherwise.

Bowler Hat: The only truly smart headgear for a man, but it can only be worn in London or at a race-meeting.  It should be worn either square on top of the head or tilted forward on to the nose.  It should never be worn abroad, never by foreigners, and Americans who attempt to do so should be fined.

Deerstalker: An entirely functional cap designed to keep your ears warm and your neck dry while stalking deer.  Sherlock Holmes wore one.  You need not.

Fat Man: If you are vain enough, as I hope you are, to read this book, surely you can be vain enough to want to make yourself less fat.  I am sure that all hints on dieting add up to the simple suggestion "eat less".  If, however, you are one of the unfortunate who have a faulty metabolism, or want some help from me while you are slimming, then I can only offer one general word of advice: be sure to wear clothes that are too large for you and never those that are too small.  You will then achieve one of the first rules of good dressing: you will look relaxed.

Italian Style: It is sometimes said that the French spend all their money on their food, the English on their gardens, and the Italians on their clothes.  I think there is some truth in this...Finally, we must agree that the Italian style of dressing and above all their attitude to clothes and the wearing of them have a certain predatoriness, an air of masculine superiority softened with an almost feminine grace that intrigues women and has proved successful in the great game of sexual attraction.

Purple: I can see no use of this handsome, not unmasculine color except for ties, socks, and handkerchiefs.  If you know how to wear them, you don't need my help.  If you don't, don't.

Smartness: Smartness is more a matter of the appearance of you clothes rather than their style.  Shoes polished, trousers pressed, and tie properly tied, are necessary factors in a smart appearance, whether your clothes are fashionable or not.  If they are, then your smartness increases proportionally.

Style: The Oxford Dictionary has two long columns of definitions for this word...The second definition is as follows: "a person's characteristic bearing, demeanor or manner especially as conduction to beauty or striking appearance."  I do not think any man aims at beauty or striking appearance, but he can certainly aim at style that is something more than being stylish.  It means a harmonious and individual interpretation of current fashions, and even sometimes a demonstration of a wish not to abandon an old style too quickly, if at all...

Tie: ...A tie is more than the finishing touch to the costume: it is an integral part of it.  You should never choose the cloth for a suit without considering what tie you are going to wear with it.

Trousers: ...You will not need pleats at the waist unless you have an important tummy...Prominent calves, the prerogative of he-men, should not bulge through the trousers. The width of the bottoms should be ordained by the size of your thighs.  If these are large, too narrow bottoms will make you look like a top.  See guys, us big-thigh-types had issues in 1965 and we're still at risk of looking like tops!

Walking Stick: An excellent and elegant accessory when you've broken your leg.

Wardrobe: To discuss a man's wardrobe is really to discuss a man's life.  For the kind of clothes he has in it reveals his way of life; and their condition and degree of fashionableness will show his character...It is a good thing, on occasion, to think of your clothes as a wardrobe: a complete unit.  You should plan to have an efficient one, rather like a tool kit for a car, to get you through any situation or emergency...A man should aim at building a wardrobe to help him to be efficient at his job and able to enjoy his leisure.

Young Man: Today a boy becomes a young man at fourteen: and remains one at forty.  He is therefore a very important customer, especially as he insists on having the right to spend a large part of his money on clothes.  He feels this is the easiest way available to him to expressing himself.  It is sometimes more than vanity: it can be a demonstration of revolt: revolt against traditions and habits, the subservience to which he feels he has not made the world the happy place he thinks it should be.  In the nineteenth century the young man openly copied the clothes of his elders.  In the twenties he grew a mustache in an attempt to look mature as quickly as possible.  Today, from the cut and length of his hair down to his narrow trousers and boots he wants to look as young as he can: and starts at twenty-five to feel the first pangs of depression at bing middle-aged.  The young man thus rules the man's fashion realm.  A newly launched fashion has no chance of success unless he accepts it. his desires dominate all trends.  Thus the mature man will also reject all styles that do not help him to feel young.  In fashion today there are no old men; only the young and the dead.

NOTE: If I get access to a scanner, I will scan in the images in the center of the book accompanying Amies's predictions for the future of menswear.


Finding Color

I love a monochromatic outfit as much as the next gentlemen.  Black, white and gray can craft a powerful statement.  Since the dawn of time, the palette of popular menswear has been heavy with neutral colors/shades: grays, white, dark blues and black.  But to keep things interesting, color is a pleasant departure from a monochromatic wardrobe.  Right now, in my sartorial journey, I feel comfortable introducing one, maybe two pieces of vibrant color into my outfits; a shirt and an accessory, a tie and an accessory, etc.

A colorful accessory is an excellent way to introduce color into your wardrobe.  I've recently been turned back on to watches.  I was as recently as last year a certified watch hater, as I had a cell phone that could tell time perfectly and carrying a watch just seemed redundant.  After traveling to Europe and relinquishing my phone to the horrors of international roaming, I re-evaluated the usefulness of the watch.  I picked up a very cheap but very simple Timex Classic Camper in black and have been using it with purpose ever since.  Since, I've noticed how nondescript the watch actually is (which, incidentally is the reason I wanted it).

So I was in J. Crew today.  They were selling 18mm watch bands for $15 in store (two for $30 online). I couldn't resist.  There were several regimental styles.  I debated internally for several minutes until deciding that I didn't have enough color in my palette and chose a pure red band.  Despite the terrible service at this particular store, I walked out of there with a red NATO style watch band.  Upon my arrival home, I put it on my Timex and this is what I saw:

If nothing else, I have a watch to match the team colors of both the notorious Chicago Blackhawks and Chicago Bulls.  If you are truly a hater an have no respect after that, I can tell you that the band and second hand perfectly match my Marty McFly vest.