31 October 2008

Happy Halloween

I'm not much for Orange and Black plastic crap made for Halloween. I wonder about adults who go crazy over this day. I assume they have numerous pairs of Crocs as well. All in all, I think it's a pretty cheesey holiday. But this picture takes that all away. A man whose image I can't look at without wondering, "What if?" And who knew he wore velvet monogramed slippers.

27 October 2008

"M" The Civilized Man Oct. '85 & '86

Sorry about the lack of cropping on some of these images - - but who really cares? I certainly don't. I spent forever scanning this stuff. The following are some of my favorite images from "M" and while I wonder, where - did - the - time - go...I'm grateful this magazine was around . 1985 was my first year out of college and in NYC. I was poor but had the time of my life. The cover above is 1985 and below is 1986.

22 years later and some things, based on the cover above, just don't change.

Pictures above are from a piece on the social clubs at Harvard. Why can't I get a haircut like these anymore?

Above is "Looking Great Too and an all time favorite of women who wouldn't have given me the time of day then and today.

When I moved to Chicago in 1989, the above boutique was still on the ground floor of Field's. It was a beautiful little corner filled with objects that had real soul. You can still find some items in Chicago from this venture: Sterling silver frames, snuff boxes, collar stays, cricket bats...

I was in love with the Grand Wagoneer. Until I drove one. Still, the design is so beautiful and I always preferred the burgundy.

I love those tassel loafers.

Hard to see-- but that's a yellow stripe oxford. I asked for a custom yellow stripe oxford at Charvet in Paris. They didn't have it. By the way, never go into Charvet after consuming two bottles of wine at lunch with your girlfriend. I'm guessing the bolt of fabric I kocked over toppled over another 12 0r 13 bolts.
Brooks offers a MTM but it's around $150 a shirt. Finally found one at the Rugby Store in NYC. I was never a fan of the cardigan but it looks great here. Still, I think it's banging 12 on the, "get your ass kicked" meter. The Trad assumes no liability for bodily injury should you decide to wear this in public. And please, leave the Dutch bicycle at home.

I recognise the door above anywhere. The Union League Club in Philadelphia. The best Lobster Club sandwich I've ever had, a great art collection and some of the most wonderful employees I've ever had the pleasure to know. They all work in accounting and got to know me well.
I've been looking for this sweater ever since I saw it 22 years ago. There's something about the purple sweater, the blue stripe oxford and the green club tie that nails it for me. I don't think this look would get you beat up...

22 October 2008

The Covert Coat

From the New & Lingwood catalog.
He looks like he needs to go the bathroom.

Fall is about the Covert coat. As seen above in the New & Lingwood catalog. Covert is a tightly spun wool that resits snags when charging through the brambles on horse back. Rail road stitching (4 stiched rows) at the hem and cuffs tell all from a distance that this is the real deal. I love these coats for one reason. You rarely see them in the States. They are British. I have one without the velvet collar which was of great importance and economy in the late 19th C when long and greasy hair stained the collar after a few wearings. To cure the grease, the owner simply changed his velvet collar (brown, green or purple) to a new one in order to remedy the oiled mess. My hair is short and so I skipped the velvet. All things in their rightful place.

It's a short coat and clean of line. Hidden buttons in a placket ease down to a bell shaped hem...not too extreme but enough to ride just above the knee and tell all you didn't find this garment at the mall. In the day, a large inside pocket was for game but today it's perfect for a scarf or ten Cuban cigars. While not Trad - - it hails from where Trad was born. Find one. Wear it. And know that in this country - - you will have something very few have. Reason enough to search it out and wear history.

20 October 2008

The Turtleneck and Alexander Mundy

I must have been doing my Alexander Mundy impersonation the day this was taken. Despite great effort I never could get my hair to part to the right.

3rd Season opening to "It Takes a Thief." Cool didn't get any cooler.

"Let me get this straight...you want me to steal?" Oh, man...how I wanted to be Alexander Mundy when I was a kid.

I usually kicked off my Robert Wagner impersonation with, "Noah...let me get this straight" to establish with my audience - - usually at the lunch table - - just where this line was coming from. The key was Noah 'cause every kid I knew watched the show and it was darned difficult to cram "Alexander Mundy" into the lead. We're talking six syllables compared to just two. More importantly than the "No-ah" utterance was the turtleneck. It really helped pull off the Al Mundy impersonation. My preference was black. A shoulder holster would've helped enormously but those were difficult to secure even then.

Turtlenecks are still an important part of Autumnal Trad wear. And I've had many that refused to die. I may even have the one I'm wearing in the picture. Maybe it's because they're seasonal and get a rest...I don't really know but they can go on forever. Cotton is great. Merino is cool. But you really graduate when you buy cashmere. Two ply or three will keep the turtleneck from turning into a cowlneck. I can't wear my black cashmere turtleneck without a desire to spin a combination dial and steal my girlfriend's jewelry. I like to wear it with black wool trousers, black tassel loafers and tucked in with a simple black calf strap with sterling monogrammed buckle. Very slimming as well.

Despite all of the years trying - - I never got beyond, "Let me get this straight...you want me to steal?" But after many decades of trying I finally got my hair to part to the right.

09 October 2008

The Trad Logo Hunt

Help! I'm ordering business cards for the Trad and I need a logo. I'm lazy and cheap but willing to make an effort and spend some cash. Simple, white and engraved. I've been to Tiffany's ($450), Smythson ($350) and Staples ($22). I must say the lady at Tiffany's was not very nice. She certainly was no John McGiver (above). But I did come up with an idea. An engine turned buckle with, THE TRAD in the monogram box. Whad'ya think?

The salesman at Smythson was nice and very helpful. And also expressed an interest in this blog. That's a guy who knows how to sell. I don't think the lady at Tiffany's could sell a golf ball in a pro shop but that's just me. Anyway, to replicate the engine turned buckle in a silver foil is gonna run me just over a $1,000 for 250 cards at Smythson. Yeah, I did the same thing you just did. I did the math. $4 a card. Staples told me they could do a silver foil for $40. That's better but I have a strange feeling they're not gonna look quite right.

How about the above? Simple. Cheap. I drew it. Hell, it would look neat on a ball cap. Maybe not. But I think it screams Trad. The bow tie. The tassels on the shoes. Staples could do this for $30 in about 4 days. It's not everyday you can save $970 on business cards. I could get a pair of alligator tassels for that kinda coin.

02 October 2008

A Trad Investment

Michael Williams of a "A Continous Lean"turns 30 today. I was thinking that my watch and perhaps some of my boxer shorts are older than he is. I bought my Sub, like so many others, while I was in the Army. It was required if you were in Special Forces. The Sub was cheap back then. I would'a sprung for the Explorer but it was on the high side. I think $50 or $75 more. Trad Dad paid $225 for his Explorer in 1967 while serving in Vietnam with 5th Special Forces Group. A few years ago he admitted to getting pissed off with his watch, taking it off his wrist and slinging it out into the middle of the New Mexico desert. So much for my inheritance.

I've owned two Subs. The first one was left in a Hardee's bathroom in Fayettville, NC after helping an Army buddy change a motorcyle chain in the restaurant's parking lot. I took it off to wash my hands and left it in the soap dish. Didn't notice until I got back to my barracks. I had this very odd feeling in my stomach just before I had the desire to kill myself. I lied to Trad Dad and told him I lost it on a night jump over St Mere Eglise Drop Zone at Ft Bragg.

A couple of days ago I was in Bergdorf Goodman and saw a Sub just like mine (model1530) and a Explorer like Dads. The Sub was $10,000 and the Explorer was $12,500 or there abouts. I know my Dad reads this blog from time to time and I can only hope he isn't feeling that stange feeling in his stomach. Jeez, you couldn't do better in stocks or real estate.

PS- The middle photo is a Sub like mine but not mine. I've added a photo of mine and am ashamed to say it's overdue for a servicing. It's had four services in the 33 years I've owned it. The book is "Handmade Shoes for Men" by Laslo Vass. I'm not a fan of what I believe to be a heavy Hungarian style but the book is mindblowing.