Rod’s Togs – Thick As Thieves Summer Blazer

Regular readers may recall me writing about my disappointing experiences with custom tailoring – be it made-to-measure or full bespoke – having generally left me less than enthused with the process.

The one happy exception to all this has been my dealings with Thick As Thieves (www.thickasthievesla.com). This is a remote made-to-measure operation run by my pal Jason in Los Angeles. I’ve written about my previous experiences with this service when he made my powder blue mohair suit, my purple tweed jacket and when he rescued my botched bespoke wedding suit (click links for more details).

My most recent commission was this summer weight blazer and I couldn’t be more happy with how it turned out. I find it hard to see where going to a full bespoke tailor would have improved in any major way on how well this fits. The fabric is a very textured and slubby linen-silk mix in a toasted golden tan colour. I don’t ask for wildly exotic deviations from the Mod-inspired house style but there are some nice details on display here.
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One thing I particularly like about my Thick As Thieves jackets is the very tasty canvassing above the top button as the jacket front rolls up into the lapel. It gives that three-dimensional effect which is much better looking than a store-bought flat-pressed lapel. I almost always wear my jackets with top two buttons fastened but this will be tempting to wear with middle only to accentuate that roll as shown here.
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Sunglasses – Moscot Nebb Blonde
Jacket – Thick As Thieves linen-silk
Shirt – Tyrwhitt
Tie – Tyrwhitt Grenadine garza grossa
Pocket Square – Kent Wang
Strides – Banana Republic linen-cotton
Socks – Uniqlo
Loafers – Crockett and Jones Harvard II

Rod’s Togs – Cold Weather Travel

Here’s what I wore on a recent trip to Chicago where it was very cold. The jacket looks like scratchy wool tweed but it’s actually one of those weird mixes that Suitsupply often does – wool (61%), mohair (16%), silk (14%) and cashmere (9%) – so it has a really soft hand but wears warm.

Sunglasses – Garrett Leight Harding
Jacket – Suitsupply
Tactle-neck – Lands End
Pocket Square – No name
Jeans – Levis Made and Crafted selvedge
Chelsea Boots – Meermin

Rod’s Togs – Cool Spring Threads

I’ve accumulated a few lightweight cotton casual jackets – Harrington and monkey jackets – but the weather here is rarely cool enough to require them so they don’t get much wear. Last Sunday was one such day.

I often intend to include more ‘lifestyle’ pictures but it’s not always easy. After being in Florida over six years we finally succumbed to the inevitability and took our youngun to the Magic Kingdom at Disney World for her fourth birthday.

Sunglasses – Tag Heuer with custom blue lenses
Jacket – Fred Perry
Polo – Fred Perry
Strides – Levi’s 511 Commuters
Socks – Lands End
Trainers – adidas Gazelles (mi adidas customised)
Satchel – adidas Team GB Olympics

Rod’s Togs – The Crombie

I was a young lad in short trousers when the brief Suedehead trend hit my town. There was a fella who lived a few doors up from me who had the slightly long-at-the-back spiky haircut known as a ‘blackburn’, and I remember he wore checked shirts, two tone strides, red socks and chunky brogue shoes. The most notable item of his rig was a Crombie-style overcoat with a red spotted handkerchief in the chest pocket. I thought he looked cool, but what did I know? – I was seven!

Coats known as ‘Crombies’ in that period, and their re-emergence during the revival skinhead era of the late seventies-early eighties, more than likely had little to do with the actual Crombie company and were for the most part cheaper knockoffs. They were usually black or dark navy, cut in a Chesterfield style: single breasted, fly fronted, knee length, notch lapels, narrow waists, horizontal flapped pockets, ticket pocket, welted chest pocket, often with a cheap red lining which could be pulled up out of the chest pocket in place of a pocket square. Maybe I was viewing the past with rose tinted glasses but I don’t remember seeing anyone look as cool during my teenage years in the revival era, nor anyone with as good-looking a Crombie-style coat, as the original Suede who lived in my street in the early seventies.

When I went to college in the mid eighties I got a heavyweight calf-length solid medium-grey herringbone weave overcoat for five pounds from a second-hand shop in Sheffield. This saw me through college in the eighties and then was shipped to a resale shop along with a load of other stuff when I found that I’d actually emigrated! The eighties were a time when loads of studenty types wore big second-hand overcoats – maybe something to do with an Echo and the Bunnymen look, with which I wanted no part. When I was suited up I preferred to wear this dark navy blue Crombie coat which I’d inherited from my Dad.

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It’s cut in a more straightforward style without the notable details often associated with Crombie style coats – this one has three exposed buttons, notch lapels and due to the button positioning at some distance from the front edge there’s a slight asymmetric crossover. The pockets are vertical ‘slash’ pockets and there’s no chest pocket

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The provenance of this coat remains a mystery to me.  My Dad used to walk to work and during bad weather wore a Burberry style trench coat. This Crombie coat seems a bit too formal for daily work wear. It seems more suited to wearing over a dinner jacket, but with my Dad being a frugal sort who was not an extravagant spender on his wardrobe I find it hard to believe that he lashed out for such a nice and presumably expensive coat to be worn on the one or two occasions per year when he was in Black Tie. I have no recollection of seeing him wear it so have no idea when or from where it was acquired. I used to wear this in England during winters in the eighties, when getting suited up to go nightclubbing was the norm.
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I don’t have much use for such a heavy coat here in Florida – I have a lighter weight herringbone Chesterfield coat too – but I’m off to frigid Buffalo, New York this week and I’m happy to have this as an option. My Dad was the same height as me but somewhat broader in his advancing years so I did have the side seams slimmed slightly to improve the fit.

I wore this coat once during a visit to see the wonderful Paul Winston of Chipps while I was in New York. He instantly recognised the cloth as Crombie and confirmed my understanding that Crombie was originally a cloth-maker not a coat-maker, and it’s only more recently that the company has taken to constructing the coats for which they have been lending their name for fifty years!

Tipping a hat to the memory of my Dad, I’m also wearing a Tootal-style scarf and 1950s era RAF-issue aviator shades, both also inherited from him!

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Sunglasses – Vintage RAF issue
Coat – Crombie (inherited, provenance unknown)
Scarf – Silk foulard backed with navy wool, label lost!
Strides – Banana Republic Prince of Wales wool flannel
Shoes – Allen Edmonds McNeil shell cordovan longwings

Rod’s Togs – No Tie Black Tie

In a previous post I discussed the influence of Mod style on Black Tie conventions. Here’s another more casual version playing with Black Tie elements. I realise that ‘casual Black Tie’ is an oxymoron and I’m usually in favour of preserving the convention not diluting it, but this was worn recently for a festive house party:

Check out the repetitive skull motif:

Sunglasses – Ray Ban Gatsby Metal Squares
Jacket – Bachrach (velvet!)
Shirt – Thomas Pink French placket pique / marcella bib front
Pocket Square – No name
Cuff links – Robert Talbot
Watch – Pulsar (wafer thin, inherited from my late Dad)
Rings – Silverlust
Strides – J.Crew tuxedo
Socks – Dapper Classics
Shoes – Del Toro (velvet!)

Rod’s Togs – The Nylon Monkey Jacket

The lads over on the Modculture message board were recently discussing a jacket Paul Weller wore during ‘Other Aspects’ – a short documentary film made earlier in 2019 about his performance with a full orchestra at London’s Royal Festival Hall.  It appears to be a traditionally shaped monkey jacket (‘windbreaker’ to any American readers unfamiliar with the term) in navy nylon.

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I’m not sure if this is a common trait among many people of a Mod persuasion or if it’s just me, but sometimes I get fixated on a clothing item and become obsessive about tracking it down. I found out this was from French brand Maison Kitsune and could be had for between $250 to $300.

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Weller looks good in the jacket and it occurred to me that this would be a great item to have for whenever I make it back to England. Visiting in the summer means a light jacket is usually all that’s needed for warmth but the unpredictability of the weather and chances of summer rain would make a nylon showerproof jacket a perfect choice to wear rather than one of my cotton harringtons. I also already own a black MA-1 which I almost never wear as it’s too bulky for most situations and wouldn’t pack easily anyway.

It’s hard to work out from the pictures on the Maison Kitsune and End websites if the jacket has any lining or bulk but it appears this is not the case. Upwards of $250 seems a lot to me for a lightweight unlined windbreaker but I was going to be in New York in December for work which would have given me the chance to visit the Maison Kitsune shop in person and try it on. Unfortunately on the day I had free it was pouring with rain and freezing cold so I didn’t venture out to the shops!

The fixation still didn’t desert me despite not being able to try the jacket on, so I did what I often do when in search of an item or outfit idea from my mind’s eye and took to ebay! And there for the princely sum of $7 and change I found this:

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At that price this seemed like worthy of taking a chance. Made by Brave Soul (a brand I’m not familiar with) it looks black in the ebay photos but the seller confirmed that it has a navy blue showerproof nylon shell and jersey cotton lining.

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It arrived recently and fits me perfectly and is exactly what I was looking for to wear during the unpredictable weather of England. Shipping cost more than the jacket! Did I get a bargain?

Sunglasses – Ray Ban Carbon
Polo – Fred Perry
Jacket – Brave Soul
Strides – Levi’s 511 Commuters
Desert Boots – Clark’s

Rod’s Togs – Checking Twice

I haven’t had this bumfreezer jacket on for a while. A rare department store find from a few years ago – Hugo Boss in Macy’s – and an equally rare three button off the rack.

Worn with my new favourite shades from Oliver Peoples in ‘burgundy bark’ – a very dark red that looks almost black at first glance:

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Sunglasses – Oliver Peoples Jaye
Jacket – Hugo Boss
Shirt – Linea Luomo
Pocket Square – Macy’s
Strides – Relco Sta-Pressts
Chelsea Boots – Arthur Knight