Chaps

It’s Weird, When Autumn Comes . . .

I can never reason with myself. –Verbal Jint

As Labor Day Weekend signifies in the States the end of Summer, the Autumn smell, I could smell it, Autumn smell, it smells like Autumn.  Depending where one lives in the USA, you either look forward to the Fall or have no problem living The Endless Summer.  Although there is still some Summer left, it’s always nice to get a jump on the next season.  I look forward to the Fall.  I enjoy the balance of the four seasons we have in the Northeast.  But with the Northeast comes weather patterns that truly have a mind of its own.  Today may be 85 and sunny.  Tomorrow may be 65 and sunny.  It smells like Autumn.

20160905_155227aWith the changing of the seasons comes the changing of 10487585_10204899801827551_1587235641674637137_nattire.  Tailored shorts, polo shirts, Sperry Top-siders and most Summer-oriented clothing should be placed into hibernation.  The color palette fades from bright to not so bright.  You can unleash some of those shoes that were put away for the Summer again.  Your skill set to mix, match and layer will be on display!   Browns, blacks, darker blues, burgundy, oranges, purples, greys, greens, darker yellows or any color that brings a sense of warmth to your wardrobe is the flavor for the season.  Materials change too.  Wool, tweed, corduroy, suede and flannel should be ready to go.  Don’t be afraid to experiment with different combinations.  And don’t be afraid to do something out of the ordinary style-wise (stay away from the pumpkin latte nonsense).  For a simple example of layering, in the pic to the right, I am wearing a Club Room lavender stripped slim-fit dress shirt (Ebay, $13.85), a Tricots St. Raphael chocolate brown half-zip sweater (BCF, $19.99), a Chaps tan corduroy sport coat (Kohls, $29.99 clearance) and a pocket square ($6.24) from The SquarExtraordinaire on Ebay.  The outfit is simple, warm and exudes the season of Autumn intertwined with a little bit of my personality, the pocket square.  What you don’t see, I am wearing Urban Pipeline dark indigo jeans (Kohls $15.99) and a pair of G.H. Bass saddle shoes (BCF $29.99).  Remember when creating your own style to incorporate your personality.

Something of pertinence I want to speak about is purchasing off-season.  The Chaps sport coat was purchased in Summer of 2014 hence the ridiculously low price.  I recently purchased 2 more Chaps sport coats (brown suede and black corduroy with elbow patches) from Kohls online a month ago.  Both were on clearance for $35 (original price $175).  While some may say the Chaps line is of a lower standard, I couldn’t care less.  My tailored executed her magic and I am content.  Firstly, I wouldn’t invest full price photo_grid_1473112197353for the sport coats.  I know better now that I am older and hopefully wiser.  Secondly, I wouldn’t wear these particular sport coats every day.  In addition, I treat these coats as if Iimg_20160217_190835 purchased them at a Brooks Brothers brick and mortar.  I am aware of clothing deemed cheap because they do use cheaper materials and quality control is not up to par as well as other factors that come into play.  But I will say it emphatically in my best version of The Rockit doesn’t matter where you bought them!  You treat each piece of clothing with care regardless of price.  Same for shoes.  I cannot stress this enough.  If we were channeling Demi Moore’s character in Indecent Proposal, rolling around half naked in a million dollars, we would be heading to Brooks Brothers ASAP!  I saw some Edward Greens I want for a cool $1720!

It shouldn’t be a problem switching over one’s seasonal wardrobe.  In fact, it should be fun.  Keep to the fundamentals and add on accordingly.  If it fits your personality, have the confidence to wear it and wear it to perfection.  Before I conclude, keep in mind to put your Spring and Summer clothes away with care.  Appropriate care will have them ready to go once the season change again.  Take care of your suede shoes too.  Give them a good once over and have them nap with cedar shoe trees.  Until next time, jal ga!

Blazing A Trail . . .

Is something one can literally do when when deciding the right combination of shoes, trousers, shirt and blazer.  The blazer beginnings originated with the Lady Margaret Boat Club  – founded in 1825 – at Cambridge University’s St. John’s College adopted a gentlemanly sporting jacket with which to row in, in a vivid scarlet cloth to distinguish themselves as part of a team. Thanks to the bright shade, the term ‘blazer’ evolved; not quite a suit jacket, designed as a stand alone piece that can be worn to add a dash of formality. By the time the annual Henley Royal Regatta rolled around in 1839, lavish stripes as part of the uniform had become part of the blazer’s DNA, each team’s outfits designed to be easily distinguishable from one another.  Just as lexicon over the decades has experienced a semantic drift, the blazer, one may say has experienced a fashionistic drift. 

As previously stated in my first post, Creating Your Own Style, one the of the classics 20160124_072603every man should own is the navy blazer.  In addition, once comfortable with the navy blazer, look to expand your color palette.  For starters, search for colors that are synonymous with a particular season.  Secondly, there are materials that are most suited for these seasons.  Cotton, linen and seersucker are the go to for Spring and Summer.  Corduroy, flannel and tweed are the go to for the Autumn and Winter.  I currently own 7 blazers as well as 4 sport coats.  It sounds as if I spent a decent amount of currency but I didn’t.  I spent a total of $374.88.  There are 7 retail store brands, 2 (what are considered) low end brands and one high end brand in the group.  Roll call as follows:

  • Stafford Collection cotton sport coat (pink) $44.99
  • Stafford Collection cotton/linen blend sport coat (windowpane khaki) $44.99
  • Merona cotton blazer (khaki) $29.98
  • Merona cotton blazer (olive) $29.98
  • Merona cotton blazer (navy) $39.99
  • Mossimo flannel blazer (charcoal) $45.00
  • Jach’s NY wool blazer (herringbone brown) $34.98
  • Croft & Barrow hopsack blazer (navy) $59.99
  • Chaps sport coat (grey plaid) $29.99
  • Chaps corduroy sport coat (tan) $39.99
  • Ermenegildo Zegna wool/silk blazer (grey plaid) $14.99 (Moya?!)

Yes, JC Penney’s again.  Kohl’s.  And Target?  Surprisingly, Target has improved their quality of clothing.  The 3 Merona blazers are half-lined and unstructured.  The khaki and olive blazers fit perfect.  I am aware the chances of purchasing off the rack and having it fit sans alterations is a Buddhasend.  Of course the navy blazer has two problems.  The sleeves are a bit long and it has functioning buttons.  Having this tailored would most likely cost more than the $40 investment.  So what is one to do?  Improvise, adapt and overcome.  I wear this very casual. copy And what I did with the sleeves in some many circles is frowned upon.  But for me, it works well and it may work for you.  I am not attending a formal gathering.  I’m indulging a vineyard atmosphere where the patrons dress whatever they are feeling.  What one will gather by having your fundamentals down, you will be able bend the narrative to suit what you are trying to stylistically achieve.  It is high risk, high reward.  If you are a go-getter, do the same with the way you dress and adjust accordingly.

copy2In this low quality pic, one can observe how I rolled the sleeves of the blazer and folded the shirt sleeves over the them.  I’m attending my friend’s baby shower (Yes, apparently men can do this nowadays).  Simple, very casual and it works.  There will be no formal wear time for this blazer.  I have a structured Croft & Barrow (Kohl’s brand) blazer for such occasions.

Ten of the purchases above were made with coupons and sales.  The Ermenegildo Zegna, I found on Ebay and it is second hand.  I won it for $2.99 so who cares about $12 shipping?!  Not I.

ezegna

Designer clothes as well as cars, exercise equipment & houses (to mention a few) are merchandise one can purchase used.   There are thrift shops all over the world housing high end clothes just waiting for someone to have their Master’s in Frugalnomics bring them home.  This blazer fits me well but I will have proper alterations done.  And, this is one thing you will need and I will discuss down the line, you need a good taylor tailor.

The options I have presented will help boost your dress game.  I am cognizant there will be individuals who will express their displeasure in some of the aforementioned brands.  Quality is important.  The Target brands I touched on briefly are of good to great quality and most certainly not a tier or two below high end.  You want the opportunity to wear your clothes for all occasions, often or not so often.  Taking care of your clothing regardless of the price point is very important.  It cannot be stressed enough.  At the end of the day, only you are aware of your spending limits.  Listen to everyone who has suggestions but remember, they won’t making any purchases for you.  Jal ga!