Rod’s Togs – The Knitted Shirt

I visited the Kamakura shop on Madison Avenue recently and snapped up this shirt.

They call it a ‘knitted’ shirt and it’s an attractive combination of a casual button down made from the kind of pique cotton usually associated with polo shirts. This one is in my favourite colour royal blue with a darker blue thread giving an interesting depth to the texture.

I wore this to travel in and a nice bonus is that the fabric doesn’t wrinkle so I arrived after an hour of driving and a three hour flight with the shirt looking like I had just put it on.

I was was so impressed with this I ordered a second shirt online. Sizes and colours available were limited due to Kamakura’s business model. They do short runs of fabrics and when they’re gone, they’re gone. I do like their practice of never having sales or end-of-line discounts so you won’t be sideswiped by seeing a shirt you bought for sale at a deeply reduced price soon after your purchase. Due to limited sizes for the second shirt I had to settle for a ‘New York Small’ – roughly equivalent to the blue one which is a  ‘Tokyo Large’ but the purple one required the sides to be slimmed.

Top:

Sunglasses – Ray Ban Aviators
Shirt – Kamakura
Strides – Levis 501
Driving mocs – Polo Ralph Lauren

Bottom:
Sunglasses – Ray Ban
Shirt – Kamakura
Strides – J Crew
Driving Mocs – Fins

Rod’s Togs – All Linen For Travel

I’m sure I’m not alone in my disdain for how I see some people dressed for travel. It seems de rigeur for many to look like they are on the way to the gym … via Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson Airport!

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I’ve always admired this photo of Ian Fleming disembarking from an aeroplane in what appears to be a lightweight suit, light raincoat, bow tie and with briefcase, perhaps stuffed with the latest Bond book manuscript?

Of course this was taken decades ago, when flying was a civilized experience and passengers were treated like special guests, unlike today when we are crammed into plastic seats like humanoid battery hens. Still, there has to be a happy medium in travelling attire between Mr. Fleming’s outfit and what is commonly on view in commuter airports today, and I hope to hit that mark.  I’ve heard so many people say that if they wear a jacket or even jeans for a flight it’s uncomfortable, and I reply that if their clothes are not comfortable to sit upright in for a few hours they must be doing something seriously wrong.

Anyway, here is my attempt to be comfortable and still appropriately dressed when flying for work, head to foot in linen for the American summer temperatures:


Sunglasses – Oliver Peoples
Blazer – Tallia (Macy’s)
Shirt – Kamakura
Pocket Square – Macy’s
Strides – J Crew
Shoes – Allen Edmonds

Rod’s Togs – The Brown Suit

I’ve had an aversion to brown for decades. It instantly brought to mind for me the nineteen seventies – the decade that style forgot! A garish broad-check sports jacket I had as a youth. Roger Moore’s dismal tenure as James Bond, wearing brown suits with flared strides.

[photos from http://www.bondsuits.com]

My very first clumsy forays into Mod style, after acquiring an obligatory inch-wide black satin tie, were a tan tweed-ish sports jacket and brown cord strides. Once I’d acquired a bit more nous regarding style I abandoned that outfit and never looked back. I’ve since avoided brown like the plague. If a choice was involved I would always go for black. Black is cool, black works with almost anything, black doesn’t show dirt, black looks dangerous and deadly … but it’s kinda boring too!

There was a time when most of my wardrobe (and ALL my footwear) was black, but over the years I’ve become more adventurous in adding colours. I’m sure this was partly influenced by living in a hot and sunny climate, but I now have very little black in there at all, and I have to finally admit that brown has entered the landscape. It all started with a pair of shoes I bought to wear with my beige cotton suit. I kidded myself that they weren’t brown, they were ‘chili’ (reddish brown!). Then came the matching belt. After that jackets in ‘rust’ linen and ‘brick red’cashmere, shoes and boots in ‘snuff suede’, a ‘ginger’ suede Levis jacket and similar-coloured adidas trainers. Ties in ‘copper’ and ‘burnt orange’, and now this:

The colour of this suit is sometimes called ‘tobacco’ but I have to face up to it, it’s brown!

I’ve heard all about the ‘no brown in town’ rule that steered city workers of the past towards blues and grays, but this rule is gleefully flaunted these days. President Obama took some flack for stepping out of his usual sphere of snooze-inducing charcoal-navy and wearing an ill-advised (and equally ill-fitting) tan suit, but conversely Ronald Reagan seems to be praised for his reintroduction of dark brown suits to the oval office.

The dress code on my job is so vague it’s meaningless, so I should have some opportunity to wear this lightweight linen suit for the remainder of the summer. I’m still working out which are the optimal choices to pair it with but I’m leaning away from earth tones towards bright blues, as the background is drab and matt. The dullness of both colour and texture provide a bit of a blank canvas which may make it surprisingly versatile.

Also, as the jacket has patch hip pockets and thus qualifies the suit as a ‘blazersuit’, (much discussed on Styleforum) this will be an opportunity to break it up – something I would never normally do – and match the jacket with light linen trousers.

I haven’t decided on which accessories will most optimally combine with these outfits but it’s a slightly new avenue for me to play around with.

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Above:
Hat – JJ’s Hat Centre, New York
Sunglasses – Garrett Leight Harding
Suit – Suitsupply
Shirt – Tyrwhitt
Tie – Tyrwhitt grenadine garza grossa
Pocket Square – Kent Wang
Chelseas – Carmina burgundy calf

Below:
Hat – JJ’s Hat Centre, New York
Sunglasses – Garrett Leight Harding
Blazer – Suitsupply
Shirt – Tyrwhitt
Tie – Chipps grenadine garza fina
Pocket Square – The Tie Bar
Strides – Cubavera
Socks – Uniqlo
Shoes – Ralph Lauren snuff suede

Royal Blue Prince of Wales

Some time ago I spotted a Prince of Wales check in royal blue with a sky blue overcheck in a long-forgotten tailor’s swatch book, and I’ve been on a mission to find the cloth ever since with a view to having a suit made.

I had also been scouting ready-to-wear, without much luck either, till I visited Suitsupply in Dallas and was faced with an entire wall covered in this mural:

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My quest wasn’t quite over as the suit made in the cloth depicted wasn’t available in the USA at the time (although they did have a very nice looking suit in similar colours but with a much more subtle check and made in a wintry flannel, which wouldn’t match my needs).

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Eventually the suit came in stock and I jumped on the deal. It’s a lightweight wool-linen mix which wears nicely in the hot summer but you still have the characteristic linen wrinkling and loss of sharpness in the trouser creases with wear. That’s the beauty of linen!

Sunglasses – Garrett Leight
Suit – Suitsupply
Shirt – Tyrwhitt
Tie – Shibumi-Berlin
Pocket Square – Bachrach
Socks – Uniqlo
Shoes – Meermin

Rod’s Togs – Boating Blazer

Striped boating blazers scream ‘identikit Mod’ to many people, and there’s no avoiding that they make a bold statement, but in the right environment I still like them.
I’ve accumulated several over the years, at a time when I was aiming at a career in academia. I thought I could get away with wearing them on campus, deflecting any derisive comments by playing up to the persona of an eccentric professor from England, but my career took me in another direction and they don’t get worn much.
This one came out in (British) patriotic colours whilst the colonials were celebrating their independance this week.

Sunglasses – Warby-Parker
Blazer – Sherry’s of London
Shirt – Uniqlo
Pocket Square – Kent Wang
Strides – Tyrwhitt
Socks – Uniqlo
Shoes – Allen-Edmonds

Rod’s Togs – The Sunspel Polo

 

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Sunspel created their ‘Riviera’ polo specifically for Daniel Craig to wear in his first outing as James Bond in ‘Casino Royale’.  My cyber-pal Matt Spaiser has an excellent blog entitled ‘The Suits of James Bond’ (linked on my home page) in which he discusses all manner of Bond-related attire, including the use of Sunspel polos in ‘Casino Royale’ but curiously very similar but NOT Sunspel polos in subsequent films.

imageI liked the look of the shirt back when the film was released but not the price. Only more recently when I got my hands on one did I realize that they are made with an extremely breathable wide mesh weave, making them perfect for the tropical heat of a Florida Summer, so I got one recently at a comparatively decent price.

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The chest pocket had to go of course. I don’t know who ever uses chest pockets on shirts and polos but it’s not me! Other than that I was very happy with the fit, finish and feel and will definitely look for more (when prices are reduced in the sales) from the limited range of colours available.

Here I am trying to channel Craig’s Bond with white jeans and tobacco suede shoes!
 

Sunglasses – Garrett Leight Harding
Polo shirt – Sunspel
Strides – LVC
Shoes – adidas Côte

Chelsea Boots – Third (And Final?) Pair

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My first post on this blog discussed my recent acquisition of a pair of black leather Chelsea boots. In October 2015 I wrote about a second pair in snuff suede, which have had a lot of use over the cooler months.
I’ve been of the mind lately that the most versatile colour for shoes is burgundy, and started a search for a pair of burgundy leather Chelsea boots.
Options in this colour seem to be severely limited. I’ve been trawling the web for some time without much luck. I did order a pair from Merc with low expectations and when they arrived they managed to be beneath that. Plasticky leather and cheap quality, they didn’t look like they would last long so I sent them back.
Attempting the search for the umpteenth time, to my surprise I finally saw a pair from Carmina on sale through a third party website located in the Netherlands, at a knock-down price as the line was being discontinued.

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I jumped on the deal and received the boots within two weeks. They are easily the best quality of all three pairs I have. The colour is a light burgundy bordering on medium-dark brown, with a soft hand and barely visible grain to the smooth leather.
Sizes were limited so I had to take a gamble on a half size larger than normal for me. The fit was slightly large but this may be a function of Chelsea boots having a wider instep to allow donning. Anyway I added some half-foot insoles to take up some of that space and make the fit more snug and I’m now very happy with the result. I have no intention of getting more Chelsea boots as I now feel like I have all bases covered, but I reserve the right to change my mind in the future!

I understand that like Meermin, makers of my snuff suede Chelsea boots, Carmina also hail from Majorca, but are considered a notch or two higher in terms of quality with prices to match! These are easily the best quality of the three pairs I own with single width leather and rubber combination soles and a very elegant, tapered last. Now I need to decide which outfits will work best with them, but I suspect that they will be equally appropriate with dark jeans and a Donegal jacket as with a charcoal suit. Watch this space for details.