Thursday, March 31, 2011

Scraps and Oakum II

After this, we'll have some interesting pictures.

Mixed Themes

Spring Pair

Charcoal Ankles

Final Flannel

Tolerable Layover

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Making Ties for Young Boys

How to make ties for boys.

Mrs. gave me (and Jr). these matching ties from Brooks Brothers.  Pink with limes all about.  Handsome.

Jr. is regularly in a tie observing dress code, but they filth up quickly.  Knit ties are durable and handsome, especially on the wee lads.

I buy them as cheaply as possible, and cut them by two-thirds, enough for the neck of a three-year-old.

Originally $45, then $9, I got these today for $4 each.

Above is the correct length, below is the 1/3 remainder
Hem the bottom in similar thread by turning the ends inward and stitching.  The rough knit hides shoddy work.

 A better tie length for a tiny neck, and they are the right width.  The satin or rayon ribbon should be kept amidships.

The new tie and the scrap left over.

The thinner back-end of a regular neck-tie also works, but you'll have to stitch carefully if it's silk.  The lads are happy to wear ties if they see Father doing it regularly.  I know someone else in Boston who also has a one similar.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Double Breasted Blazers / Jackets

 How and when to wear a double breasted blazer or jacket

A 19 Year-old John Ritter is chosen as "Bachelor #3"

Admiral Cod is well known for triumphantly championing the double-breasted jacket, blazer, and suit (he is an Admiral, after all).  I must say that I too certainly enjoy wrapping myself in them from time to time.  While mostly associated with operations nautical, the double-breasted blazer is not just for the yachtsman or the naval officer.  It can be paired with nearly anything (though not everything), and they are stunning in the summer with white pants and leather shoes.

A double-breasted jacket is also a safe choice, and puts you into the category of "knowing what you're talking about" a bit quicker than others.  With a bow-tie and a double-breasted jacket or suit, you better be ready to speak about something (anything) in great detail, because you will be assumed an authority.  A cold drink always tastes better when there are six buttons on your torso, and the peak-lapels let people know that you are bringing a deep understanding of formality to the event.

The Elegantologist doesn't screw around

Cadets leap out of your way and bestow undeserved reverence while afloat.  A demonstration on the correct way to tighten a monkey's fist or how to fid/mallet a four-strand Turk's head lets people know that you did not attend the academy.

YWP & a childhood friend. She still talks to me for some reason

Below, a double-breasted jacket with a tartan bow-tie should be worn cautiously to events where you don't speak the language.  As an American, you will not be believed when you admit "I'm sorry Madam Director, I don't speak a single word of French."

A long tie always works under the wrapping, and you can use its tight inaccessibility to your advantage: "Yes, I do have a pen, but I can't get at it right now.  No, I probably won't remember your email address, but if we run into each other at the next function, I will be sure to have a pen in a more accessible pocket."

Both Roger Moore and Prince Charles kept the look going when most others left it for dead, and a decade ago, David Hyde Pierce may have single-handedly and double-breastedly solidified the look for a new generation of style-curious eyes.

With an ascot: yes... with jeans: nope... with madras pants: of course...
Double-breasted jacket in houndstooth or tartan wool: absolutely.  Khakis and loafers: yes.  You get the picture.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Casual Friday

I'm riffing (not ripping) off of Vir Beatum's correct take on Casual Fridays.

How I obnoxiously observe casual dress.

Start here

...wait for it...

Pocket = Casual
If you formal it up for Friday, send a photo. 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Dressing Like a Boy

Sometimes it's acceptable.  Mostly not.

Reliving, emulating, or paying tribute to school uniforms is one of the acceptable ways to dress as a child... for men at least (the female version is usually only trotted out in sickening pedi-fetish-form and usually on Halloween.)
Gray flannel pants (khakis in fall/spring), stiff Anglo-made shoes, Bengal-stripe or white shirt, striped or crested tie, and the requisite durable blazer.

The infantile writer of this blog tries to live out lost years

The young school-lad look is so etched into the DNA that even eighty year-olds will appear in what is likely a version of their uniform or dress code  from seventy years prior.

What was easy for a six-to-seventeen year old to master is understandably comfortable and effortless for an adult.  It requires very little thought, is generally acceptable in non-business settings, and is remarkably comfortable.  I recently walked to lunch with a elderly pillar or Boston who still wears his boarding school scarf, decimated by moths and repaired endlessly, but still around his neck seventy five years later.

The knit tie is popular in boy's schools because it hides blemish, stain, and general damage VERY well.  School-issued ties to boys are almost always (still) polyester because they are durable and washable.  The daily clothing of the uniformed boys-school lad is wholly unlike the images the catalogs show (silk ties, polished shoes, and belts with nouns embroidered on them).  The truth is that every inch of fabric on the young sprouts (day and boarders alike) will be utterly disgusting, and possibly ineligible for hand-me-down to the next younger brother by virtue of its mosaic of stains and thread-bare victimhood.

Brooks Brothers keeps sending me their catalogs depicting modeling-agency children in their miniature finery.

Brooks Bros. "Prep Blazer"... naively offered at $228

Like all images, they fail to address the likely state of school-mandated blazers amongst young boys:
     -buttons replaced a thousand times
     -forgotten on the athletic field overnight
     -buffet of petrified and putrefied crumbs in the side pockets
     -covered in multiple layers of varying filth
     -yards of pen marks
     -sleeves shellacked in mucus
     -too long/short and too baggy/tight
     -shined and crumbling elbows
     -snags from orthodontia (including someone else's)

For adults, avoid mimic and caricature by swapping here and there, avoid school crests on the jacket (club patches are acceptable), and keep the ballcaps away unless you're watching little Arlie Jr. get trampled on the soccer field.  Extra points for a heavily darned and uncleanable v-neck (school crest is acceptable here).

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Velveteen: Rehab It.

A recent thrift store find was this brown velvet(y) jacket (don't worry, I won't be homing in on the thrift-find territory).  It is a moderate velvet jacket, partially lined, exceedingly soft, but with some very disagreeable buttons depicting a cereal crop of some kind (if anyone wants them, I'll even pay the postage).  Also, the side-vented stern has two rips, and the seam is only the origin of the tears... they go a full inch into open fabric, making any potential repairs tough. At $4 for the whole get-up though, it is worth the try.

Irredeemably ugly buttons
Unforgivably bad

New (more attractive) Frog closures
 I dug around eBay for a bit, and ordered a dozen very small frog closures from China for $5.  A quick stop by Windsor Button in Boston for two larger frog closures, and then I brought the entire thing to the tailor.

Three of the new frog closures, already shedding their (likely toxic) strands.

The tear that inspired (required) the external gusset

2 Weeks Later......

The rips turned out to be difficult to repair, so two sets of opaque triple Flemish flakes were the only interesting way to cover the seams, and they make surprisingly passable external gussets.  They actually fasten together, but there will obviously be no need to undo them ever.

Stern View: The tops of each side-vent now conceal the repairs

I gave the front of this swarthling two new frogs to replace the buttons, and took further license to administer an equally poetic twist to non-functional flourish by giving each cuff its own plague of frogs... in mini-form and triplicate.

Exodus 8:2

Ten closures in all, but only one will ever be used

Combined with spotted silk for the neck and brown velvet slippers, I was was ready to do what I do best: Stand overly upright with drink in hand delivering my cocktail laugh to some pained-over anecdote of falsified social heroism before eventually returning same.

Brown velvet slippers and jacket

When the deck was finally coiled down, this entire senseless exercise in jacketry cost about $55.  So now I have a brown velvet jacket of questionable quality adorned in needlessly-fancied closures which consumed a few hours with hassle and can now be worn only occasionally and specifically, yet will still occupy closet space and annoyingly require regular care.  Perfect!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Scraps and Oakum

Return Trip

Plum's Joke

Henry Maxwells

Office Warning

Friday, March 18, 2011

Urban Practicality: Fly Box = Cufflink Organizer

 Joe Brooks solves a man's dilemma.

The dry-fly section of Orvis Boston

Orvis sent me a nice coupon and I used it to buy two new fly-boxes (about $10).  Traveling and organizing cufflinks (especially silk knots) can be a pain, and young children squirrel them away after playing with them, regardless of how far out of reach you put them.  These are designed to seal securely, are waterproof, and (so far) are childproof.  The metal cufflinks will still be kept in a more elegant holder, and unlike the silk numbers, you can hear them if you drop them... the silk knots tend to silently bounce and immediately disappear under furniture, only to be later consumed by an uncaring vacuum.

Silk knot cufflinks are ready for travel

What to do with a spare fly?
Below, a fly tied by great-grandfather which (decades ago) coaxed rainbow trout out of the cool undercuts of a Northern Maine stream.


Reading the charming and unexpectedly-stylish flyfisherman and author Joe Brooks was the inspiration.  Authenticity and radiance being rare, I refer you to the lovely image below of Mary Brooks (4th photo down)... the real thing.

 From Trout Fishing (1972)

A beret for the trout waters of Argentina

Canvas hat while crossing a river (not named)

Mrs. Brooks and her fantastic style in New Zealand.  Keeper.

Fur hunting hat on the Babine River, BC

Though most photos also contain images of world-class trutta, they also contain inescapable charm, and illustrate a man who thinks about his surroundings, has fantastic patience, and lands some amazing fish.